prism

noun
\ˈpri-zəm \

Definition of prism 

1 : a polyhedron with two polygonal faces lying in parallel planes and with the other faces parallelograms

2a : 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

Examples of prism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Unlike, say, BET, blackness is simply the prism, and only occasionally the conversation starter for OWN. Jason Parham, WIRED, "How Oprah’s Network Finally Found Its Voice," 19 June 2018 In the dry season, when the storms break and the research season begins, Mr. González heads to the icy heights of the nearby peaks with survey prisms and markers. Nicholas Casey, New York Times, "A Lifetime in Peru’s Glaciers, Slowly Melting Away," 26 Jan. 2018 There are many ways to interpret that, but one of them is through the prism of loss avoidance. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "Two Words That Could Shape the Politics of the Trade War: Loss Aversion," 13 July 2018 Sitting in the United States, there's a temptation to view the Mexican vote through the prism of President Trump, a deeply unpopular figure south of the border. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Mexico’s presidential frontrunner is promising a revolution. Can he deliver?," 29 June 2018 That leaves prisms, mirrors or some other optical method. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Three SF galleries under the radar but worth seeking out," 16 May 2018 For example, light of different colors might travel at different speeds—just as in a glass prism, which refracts light into its constituent colors. George Musser, Scientific American, "What Is Spacetime?," 8 May 2018 One includes a ruler, a prism, and a diagram of a frog. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "With György Kepes, photographs as experiments," 28 Mar. 2018 Sloane Leong's new series explores colors, talking up almost one slice of the rainbow at a time like light filtering through a (yup) prism. Lizzy Acker, OregonLive.com, "James Comey is coming to Portland," 15 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of prism

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prism

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

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Dictionary Entries near prism

prise

prisere

prisiadka

prism

prismal

prismatic

prismatical

Statistics for prism

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Time Traveler for prism

The first known use of prism was in 1570

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More Definitions for prism

prism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prism

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

prism

noun
\ˈpri-zəm \

Kids Definition of prism

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

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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