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 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 The comparison provided both the distance to the CMB and the scalar dimensions of its features, allowing the Planck team to clock the primordial universe’s expansion rate at just 67.3 kilometers per second per megaparsec. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Cosmic Conflict: Diverging Data on Universe’s Expansion Polarizes Scientists," 16 May 2018 One set of theories is known as Tensor-vector-scalar gravity (TeVeS), which adds an extra field to gravity. Jesse Emspak, Smithsonian, "What the Neutron Star Collision Means for Dark Matter," 1 Nov. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scalar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scalar Encyclopedia article about scalar

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