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

The measurement also changes the neutrons quantum wave. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Quantum measurements could power a tiny, hyper-efficient engine," 10 July 2018 The auto maker is working with IBM ’s commercial partnership program for quantum computing. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Mercedes Enlists Quantum Computing to Build a Better Electric Vehicle Battery," 25 Feb. 2019 Clarke is a pioneer in developing sensitive magnetic detectors called superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). Douglas Messier, Space.com, "Super-Sensitive Device Seeks Axions, Proposed Dark Matter Particles," 2 July 2018 The blueprint recommends that the hubs focus on three areas: developing ultraprecise quantum sensors for biomedicine, navigation, and other applications; hack-proof quantum communication; and quantum computers. Gabriel Popkin, Science | AAAS, "Updated: Quantum physics gets attention—and brighter funding prospects—in Congress," 27 June 2018 With quantum tunneling, the wave nature of protons allows them to overlap ever so slightly, like ripples merging on the surface of a pond. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 In a quantum system, the researchers also found that the inertial mass and gravitational mass operators must commute. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Einstein’s equivalence principle updated with a dash of quantum," 14 Aug. 2018 The upgrade is a quantum improvement over the legacy system, providing over a thousand times the processor throughput, memory, and network speed, according to senior Air Force leaders. Fox News, "Air Force brings AI to B-2, F-35 and F-15," 31 July 2018 For one, theoretical computer scientists already knew that quantum computers can solve any problems that classical computers can. Kevin Hartnett, WIRED, "Finally, a Problem Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her experiments with laser cooling macroscopic objects have laid the groundwork for observing quantum behavior more easily. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 Schrödinger’s theorem described the wave function of quantum-mechanical systems. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Searching for Myself in Alice Neel’s Radical Portraits," 26 Feb. 2019 They are only observed via microscopic quantum phenomena, but once this happens, wavefunction interference then becomes apparent. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "NASA has created the coldest spot ever," 9 Aug. 2018 Turin speculates that a quantum effect called tunneling might be involved. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 Microsoft is now focused on cross-platform technologies, the cloud, artificial intelligence, and is aiming to secure the future of quantum computing and mixed reality computing. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft briefly overtakes Apple to become the world’s most valuable company," 26 Nov. 2018 There must be hundreds of books trying to explain quantum physics to thoughtful readers who know little if anything about physics or the relevant mathematics. N. David Mermin, WSJ, "‘Beyond Weird’ Review: Choosing Words Carefully," 8 Feb. 2019 Named after Russian theoretical physicist Vitaly Efimov, who proposed their existence in 1970, these quantum states crop up where atoms would bind too weakly to join in pairs, but can form threesomes. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Universe’s Coolest Lab Set to Open Quantum World," 9 May 2018 Like quantum physics, and the relationship to time and space and your consciousness. Fox News, "Democrats eye 'fresh face' for 2020," 19 July 2018

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

8 May 2019

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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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Comments on quantum

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