quantum

noun
quan·​tum | \ ˈkwän-təm \
plural quanta\ ˈkwän-​tə \

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 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 Manfra, in fact, is part of Microsoft's global effort to build quantum computers based on topological qubits. Neil Savage, Scientific American, "What Are the Limits of Manipulating Nature?," 8 May 2018 The Big Bang is thought to have been triggered by a random fluctuation in what physicists call the quantum foam, a maelstrom of virtual particles that pop into and out of existence. Dan Falk /, NBC News, "What is the multiverse?," 22 May 2018 Areas like chips, artificial intelligence and quantum computing will undergo particular scrutiny, and might become off limits to Chinese investors. The Economist, "The challenger," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Like quantum physics, and the relationship to time and space and your consciousness. Fox News, "Democrats eye 'fresh face' for 2020," 19 July 2018 In 2017, The South China Morning Post reported that Chinese scientists were working on detection systems that used quantum entanglement to locate and track stealthy aircraft, bypassing traditional radars. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Is This China’s Stealth Bomber?," 9 Apr. 2018 The original idea behind ghost imaging made use of something called quantum entanglement. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Imaging at 1,000fps with a single pixel," 15 Feb. 2018 The Kibble balance — named after its late inventor, the British physicist Bryan Kibble — does something similar, but with a quantum mechanical twist. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The world is about to redefine the kilogram," 15 Nov. 2018 Burger King’s joke lands because AI exists in the public imagination as a quantum entity — simultaneously powerful and pathetic. James Vincent, The Verge, "Burger King’s ‘AI-written’ ads show we’re still very confused about artificial intelligence," 3 Oct. 2018 The government agency created atoms known as Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) for the first time in orbit to focus on their unusual quantum behavior. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "NASA has created the coldest spot ever," 9 Aug. 2018 In quantum mechanics, there are quantum vacuum fluctuations—virtual particles that appear and disappear. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Get Nanoparticles Spinning a Billion Times Per Second," 19 July 2018 Stephen Hawking discovered that, thanks to a phenomenon known as quantum tunneling, black holes could actually produce a tiny bit of radiation, which would come to be known as Hawking radiation. Marcus Woo, Scientific American, "Gravitational “Echoes” Could Reveal Colliding Wormholes," 19 June 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

4 Dec 2018

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 \
plural quanta\ ˈkwänt-​ə \

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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to gather or build up little by little

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