spectrum

noun
spec·​trum | \ ˈspek-trəm How to pronounce spectrum (audio) \
plural spectra\ ˈspek-​trə How to pronounce spectrum (audio) \ or spectrums

Definition of spectrum

1a : a continuum of color formed when a beam of white light is dispersed (as by passage through a prism) so that its component wavelengths are arranged in order
b : any of various continua that resemble a color spectrum in consisting of an ordered arrangement by a particular characteristic (such as frequency or energy): such as
(3) : the range of frequencies of sound waves
c : the representation (such as a plot) of a spectrum
2a : a continuous sequence or range a wide spectrum of interests opposite ends of the political spectrum
b : kinds of organisms associated with a particular situation (such as an environment)
c : a range of effectiveness against pathogenic organisms an antibiotic with a broad spectrum
on the spectrum
: exhibiting traits associated with autism spectrum disorder … quiet areas and sensory bags with headphones … and other ways to help kids who are on the spectrum cope with unfamiliar, noisy surroundings.— Rachel Molenda … Stephanie Adams, cofounder of the Autism and Asperger's Society, said: "We started the society because we wanted to make a place where people on the spectrum can spend their time and not feel isolated. …"— Kelsey Maxwell

Synonyms for spectrum

Synonyms

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Examples of spectrum in a Sentence

beautiful scarves in all the colors of the spectrum the complete spectrum of opinions on this hotly debated subject
Recent Examples on the Web The more comprehensive documents might be worthwhile to facilitate tax planning (or on the opposite end of the wealth spectrum Medicaid planning). Martin Shenkman, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Colorescience's sunscreen stick has it all: Broad spectrum SPF 50 protection, a mineral, water resistant formula and several hydrating ingredients including jojoba and squalane. Catharine Malzahn, Good Housekeeping, 24 June 2022 CBDfx Joint and Mobility Pet Treats are sold in a 30-count bag with 15 mg of broad spectrum CBD per serving. The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 June 2022 Where along the extinction-event spectrum the present warming will place us is, for the first time in Earth's history, up to just one species. Chris Mays, Scientific American, 23 June 2022 The real strength of the show is the workplace relationships, most notably the surprising bond that forms between Nicholas and Howard, who are at opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, 23 June 2022 Since all wireless data is carried via electromagnetic waves, governments have carved up the entire spectrum and auctioned off radio frequencies measured in hertz for specific services including satellite communication. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 22 June 2022 The coalition members spanned the Israeli political spectrum, with little binding them together beyond opposition to Netanyahu. Josef Federman, ajc, 21 June 2022 Telus and Bell share spectrum, so in general, where Telus installs its network, Bell customers will get access, and vice versa. Sascha Segan, PCMAG, 17 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of spectrum

1672, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for spectrum

New Latin, from Latin, appearance — more at specter

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Time Traveler for spectrum

Time Traveler

The first known use of spectrum was in 1672

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Dictionary Entries Near spectrum

spectrous

spectrum

spectrum analysis

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Statistics for spectrum

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Spectrum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spectrum. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for spectrum

spectrum

noun
spec·​trum | \ ˈspek-trəm How to pronounce spectrum (audio) \
plural spectra\ -​trə \ or spectrums

Kids Definition of spectrum

: the group of different colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet seen when light passes through a prism and falls on a surface or when sunlight is affected by drops of water (as in a rainbow)

spectrum

noun
spec·​trum | \ ˈspek-trəm How to pronounce spectrum (audio) \
plural spectra\ -​trə How to pronounce spectrum (audio) \ or spectrums

Medical Definition of spectrum

1a : a continuum of color formed when a beam of white light is dispersed (as by passage through a prism) so that its component wavelengths are arranged in order
b : any of various continua that resemble a spectrum in consisting of an ordered arrangement by a particular characteristic (as frequency or energy): as
c : the representation (as a plot) of a spectrum
2 : a continuous sequence or range specifically : a range of effectiveness against pathogenic organisms — see broad-spectrum, narrow-spectrum

More from Merriam-Webster on spectrum

Nglish: Translation of spectrum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spectrum for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spectrum

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