prism

noun \ ˈpri-zəm \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of prism

1 :a polyhedron with two polygonal faces lying in parallel planes and with the other faces parallelograms
2 a :a transparent body that is bounded in part by two nonparallel plane faces and is used to refract or disperse a beam of light
b :a prism-shaped decorative glass luster
3 :a crystal form whose faces are parallel to one axis; especially :one whose faces are parallel to the vertical axis
4 :a medium that distorts, slants, or colors whatever is viewed through it

Recent Examples of prism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of prism

Late Latin prismat-, prisma, from Greek, literally, anything sawn, from priein to saw


PRISM Defined for English Language Learners

prism

noun

Definition of prism for English Language Learners

  • : a transparent glass or plastic object that usually has three sides and that separates the light that passes through it into different colors


PRISM Defined for Kids

prism

noun \ ˈpri-zəm \

Definition of prism for Students

:a transparent object that usually has three sides and bends light so that it breaks up into rainbow colors

Medical Dictionary

prism

noun \ ˈpriz-əm \

medical Definition of prism

1 :a polyhedron with two polygonal faces lying in parallel planes and with the other faces parallelograms
2 :a transparent body that is bounded in part by two nonparallel plane faces and is used to refract or disperse a beam of light
3 :a crystal form whose faces are parallel to one axis; especially :one whose faces are parallel to the vertical axis


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