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

Examples of prism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During and after the 30 years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles, the Palestinians’ struggle for liberation was seen by its residents through the prism of their own conflict. Eoin McSweeney, CNN, 29 Mar. 2024 That tradition offers Nicholson a philosophical prism through which to view his mostly autobiographical art. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2024 In the Curiosity Zone, kids will have the opportunity to get hands-on with everything from building and launching their own foam rockets to manipulating light beams at an optics table using prisms and mirrors. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Jan. 2024 Hart’s research probed the structure of Coxeter groups, more general versions of structures that catalog the symmetries of polygons and prisms. Leila Sloman, Quanta Magazine, 12 Jan. 2024 Director Andrew Haigh is a master of character dramas that verge on the surreal and/or horrifying, and All of Us Strangers sounds like a cross between his 2011 romance Weekend and his 2015 venture 45 Years, which examines a married couple’s relationship through the prism of an unresolved tragedy. Declan Gallagher, EW.com, 21 Dec. 2023 On Webb, thermometers and prisms have been replaced with dozens of filters and intricate mechanisms. Kate Larue, New York Times, 5 Nov. 2023 This is the prism through which these capitalists see artificial intelligence. Robert Evans, Rolling Stone, 27 Jan. 2024 For the Marlins, every decision will be made through the prism of what leaves the organization in the best position over the next two or three years. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 24 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prism was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near prism

Cite this Entry

“Prism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prism. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

prism

noun
1
: a polyhedron with two opposite ends that are parallel polygons and faces that are each parallelograms
2
: a transparent object that usually has three sides and bends light so that it breaks up into rainbow colors

Medical Definition

prism

noun
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

More from Merriam-Webster on prism

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