relativity

noun rel·a·tiv·i·ty \ ˌre-lə-ˈti-və-tē \

Definition of relativity

plural relativities
1 a : the quality or state of being relative
b : something that is relative
2 : the state of being dependent for existence on or determined in nature, value, or quality by relation to something else
3 a : a theory which is based on the two postulates (1) that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and independent of the source or observer and (2) that the mathematical forms of the laws of physics are invariant in all inertial systems and which leads to the assertion of the equivalence of mass and energy and of change in mass, dimension, and time with increased velocity called also special relativity, special theory of relativity
b : an extension of the theory to include gravitation and related acceleration phenomena called also general relativity, general theory of relativity
4 : relativism 1b

Recent Examples of relativity from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relativity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of relativity

circa 1834


RELATIVITY Defined for English Language Learners

relativity

noun

Definition of relativity for English Language Learners

  • physics : a theory developed by Albert Einstein which says that the way that anything except light moves through time and space depends on the position and movement of someone who is watching



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