Definition of magnitude
1a : great size or extent cannot wage a war of such magnitude — A. N. Whitehead the magnitude of an earthquakeb (1) : spatial quality : size able to operate only over distances of very small magnitude — G. W. Gray (2) : quantity, number the savings in amounts of metal … will be of dramatically significant magnitudes — American Fabrics
2 : the importance, quality, or caliber of something evil of such magnitude as must, if possible, be prevented — Jane Austen a writer of first magnitude — Richard Plant
3 : a number representing the intrinsic (see intrinsic 1a) or apparent brightness of a celestial (see 1celestial 2) body on a logarithmic scale in which an increase of one unit corresponds to a reduction in the brightness of light by a factor of 2.512
4 : a numerical quantitative measure expressed usually as a multiple of a standard unit
5 : the intensity of an earthquake represented by a number on an arbitrary scale a magnitude six earthquake
Examples of magnitude in a Sentence
the magnitude of the issue can scarcely be overstated
the mountain's sheer magnitude usually leaves tourists speechless
Recent Examples of magnitude from the Web
The changes required to deal with shortfalls of that magnitude will be enormous.
The magnitude of these cuts and changes to Medicaid is staggering.
Unfortunately, this phrase will also apply to future corporate crises of the highest magnitude, as Uber has faced an unprecedented series of calamities over the past 90 days.
The rapid spread and magnitude of the Grenfell Tower incident can be attributed to the combustible cladding used in the exterior construction of the tower.
An annual analysis by insuranceQuotes.com, a rate comparison site, found that adding a teenager still increased annual premiums substantially, but the magnitude of the increase has been falling over the past few years.
That section of the fault last caused a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 1857.
When the stresses change, the number of roughly 2.0 magnitude earthquakes grows, the researchers found.
But that’s not to say Sato and Rossi don’t understand the magnitude of their accomplishment.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'magnitude'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of magnitude
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin magnitudo, from magnus
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
MAGNITUDE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of magnitude for English Language Learners
: the size, extent, or importance of something
: a number that shows the brightness of a star
: a number that shows the power of an earthquake
MAGNITUDE Defined for Kids
Definition of magnitude for Students
: greatness of size or importance “How can you term an undertaking of such magnitude mere peddling?” — Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat
Medical Definition of magnitude
: relative size or extent
Learn More about magnitude
See words that rhyme with magnitude Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magnitude Spanish Central: Translation of magnitude Nglish: Translation of magnitude for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of magnitude for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about magnitude
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