quantum

noun
quan·​tum | \ ˈkwän-təm How to pronounce quantum (audio) \
plural quanta\ ˈkwän-​tə How to pronounce quanta (audio) \

Definition of quantum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

b : portion, part
c : gross quantity : bulk
2a : any of the very small increments or parcels into which many forms of energy are subdivided
b : any of the small subdivisions of a quantized physical magnitude (such as magnetic moment)

quantum

adjective

Definition of quantum (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : large, significant a quantum improvement
2 : of, relating to, or employing the principles of quantum mechanics quantum physics

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Synonyms for quantum

Synonyms: Noun

amount, measure, quantity, volume

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Examples of quantum in a Sentence

Noun

the sum of human knowledge is now so immense that even a highly educated person can hope to absorb only a tiny quantum of it

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These tempting, easy-to-understand Cold War metaphors pervade policy discourse around emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Wired, "Cold War Analogies are Warping Tech Policy," 5 Sep. 2019 The Commerce Department is moving forward with new export controls that would restrict American firms from selling sensitive technology, like artificial intelligence and quantum computing, to Chinese firms. New York Times, "As Trump Escalates Trade War, U.S. and China Move Further Apart With No End in Sight," 1 Sep. 2019 What makes a resolution so elusive is that the administration’s demands would undercut China’s drive to achieve prosperity as the global leader in such transformative technologies as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Washington Post, "Trump’s inconsistent messages on China trade heighten risks," 26 Aug. 2019 What makes a resolution so elusive is that the administration’s demands would undercut China’s drive to achieve prosperity as the global leader in such transformative technologies as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trump’s inconsistent messages on China trade heighten risks," 26 Aug. 2019 The quantum of water that will be displaced by the coastal road will find someplace on land to hit. Nikhil S Dixit, Quartz India, "Mumbai’s small fishing community is relieved after a $2 billion road is stalled," 14 Aug. 2019 Think of the rockets and the quantum computing and Jeff Bezos’s new biceps. Dustin Kurtz, The New Republic, "Why Amazon’s Twitter Ambassadors Are So Sad," 16 Aug. 2019 With quantum computing still being developed, companies are racing to hire skilled talent, which is currently limited because the field is so nascent. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Quantum Computers Might Save the World—If Companies Can Find Workers to Build Them," 15 July 2019 Experts say quantum computing can be orders of magnitude more powerful than traditional computers. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "JPMorgan Years Away From Seeing Quantum-Computing Dividends," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Together, all those particles form the Standard Model of particle physics, the creation of which is one of the signature accomplishments of physicists in the 20th century and underlies the field of quantum physics. Dylan Loeb Mcclain, BostonGlobe.com, "Ann Nelson, expert on particle physics, 61," 29 Aug. 2019 Particles are easy to manipulate, which is why quantum physics is commonly described in terms of particles. George Musser, Scientific American, "The Search for Truth in Physics," 25 Aug. 2019 Quantum computers are still a dream, but the era of quantum communication is here. Kevin Hartnett, WIRED, "It's Not a Myth: Quantum Messages Really Can Travel Faster," 23 Dec. 2018 Quantum computers are still a dream, but the era of quantum communication is here. Wired, "It's Not a Myth: Quantum Messages Really Can Travel Faster," 23 Dec. 2018 Quantum computers are still a dream, but the era of quantum communication is here. Quanta Magazine, "Milestone Experiment Proves Quantum Communication Really Is Faster," 19 Dec. 2018 China and Russia variously are ahead in quantum communications, antisatellite weapons, directed energy, and hypersonics. Mark Helprin, WSJ, "Defining Defense Down," 11 Oct. 2018 Other recent advancements include the launch of the world’s first quantum communications satellite, which promises to improve the security of communications by sending information on photons of light. Mike Ives, New York Times, "As America Looks Inward, China Looks to Outer Space," 23 May 2018 The discovery of supergravity was the beginning of including quantum variables in describing the dynamics of spacetime. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "MIT emeritus professor wins $1m for particle physics work," 6 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quantum.' 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 quantum

Noun

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1942, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quantum

Noun

Latin, neuter of quantus how much

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Statistics for quantum

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quantum

The first known use of quantum was in 1567

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More Definitions for quantum

quantum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of quantum

 (Entry 1 of 2)

physics : the smallest amount of many forms of energy (such as light)

quantum

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of quantum (Entry 2 of 2)

physics : of, relating to, or using the principles of quantum theory

quantum

noun
quan·​tum | \ ˈkwänt-əm How to pronounce quantum (audio) \
plural quanta\ ˈkwänt-​ə How to pronounce quanta (audio) \

Medical Definition of quantum

1 : one of the very small increments or parcels into which many forms of energy are subdivided a molecule of rhodopsin in the human eye can cause a response to a single quantum of light
2 : one of the small molecular packets of a neurotransmitter (as acetylcholine) released into the synaptic cleft in the transmission of a nerve impulse across a synapse

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