sca·​lar | \ ˈskā-lər How to pronounce scalar (audio) , -ˌlär \

Definition of scalar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having an uninterrupted series of steps : graduated scalar chain of authority scalar cells
2a : capable of being represented by a point on a scale scalar quantity
b : of or relating to a scalar or scalar product scalar multiplication



Definition of scalar (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a real number rather than a vector
2 : a quantity (such as mass or time) that has a magnitude describable by a real number and no direction

Examples of scalar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That’s exactly the case that would call for a scalar field. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, "Ask Ethan: What Is A Scalar Field?," 19 Mar. 2021 One of Linde’s ideas is that in the early universe, scalar field energy should be constantly created at various magnitudes due to quantum effects. Alan Lightman, The Atlantic, "‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’," 8 Feb. 2021 This instability, which is the hallmark of spontaneous scalarization, is expected to endow the black hole with scalar hair. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "New Experiment Utterly Alters What We Know About Black Holes," 14 Dec. 2020 This helps the 888’s scalar performance improve by 50 percent, Asghar said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Inside the Snapdragon 888: The features you'll find in 2021's premium phones," 2 Dec. 2020 Set things up just right and at large spatial scales, the scalar field interacts only with itself and acts like dark matter. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "To explain away dark matter, gravity would have to be really weird, cosmologists say," 20 Nov. 2020 The scalar field would have braided itself into the gravitational field in a way that exerted negative pressure on the universe, reversing the contraction and driving space-time apart —without destabilizing everything. Quanta Magazine, "How the Universe Got Its Bounce Back," 31 Jan. 2018 Other elementary particles—those that researchers don’t believe can be divided any further—include six flavors of leptons and the Higgs, known as a scalar boson. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Large Hadron Collider Is Getting A Huge Power Boost," 19 June 2018 These modifications of general relativity also introduce a scalar field. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity," 6 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By placing the scalar, tensor, and vector accelerators next to one another, the workloads can be shared among them. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Inside the Snapdragon 888: The features you'll find in 2021's premium phones," 2 Dec. 2020 Their next step is to make more realistic calculations that go beyond elementary scalar fields and incorporate messier forms of matter and radiation. Quanta Magazine, "Black Hole Singularities Are as Inescapable as Expected," 2 Dec. 2019 Then there is TeVeS (tensor-vector-scalar), MOND’s relativistic cousin. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity," 6 May 2018

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


circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scalar


Latin scalaris, from scalae stairs, ladder — more at scale entry 5

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Time Traveler for scalar

Time Traveler

The first known use of scalar was circa 1656

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Statistics for scalar

Last Updated

23 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scalar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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