Definition of spectrum
spectraplay \ˈspek-trə\ or
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 orderb : 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 (1) : electromagnetic spectrum (2) : radio spectrum (3) : the range of frequencies of sound waves (4) : mass spectrumc : 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 spectrumb : 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
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 of spectrum from the Web
The spelling bee, the people who are running it, are very sensitive to special needs all across the spectrum and this request was hastily accommodated.
Disney might have slotted Weir into years of evil bad guy stuff, but Weir's 30-year career in Chicago has covered the spectrum of dramatic and musical roles.
In addition, high-profile environmental groups across the political spectrum—including the Sierra Club, 350.org, and Catholic Climate Commitment—have all beseeched Trump to stick in the agreement.
People on far ends of the spectrum in the same field of artistry can end up with eerily similar stages.
Some projects are relatively minor, as far as causing traffic issues, while others, such as the ongoing widening of 159th Street/Illinois Route 7/US Route 6, are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
The 10 percent lowest- and highest-functioning were not included, to make the results as representative as possible for the largest number of autism spectrum children.
The campaign also came ahead of the election, in a climate when people on certain sides of the political spectrum weren’t feeling particularly patriotic.
According to dominatrix Mona Wales, foot fetishes exist on a spectrum.
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.
Origin and Etymology of spectrum
New Latin, from Latin, appearance — more at specter
First Known Use: 1671
SPECTRUM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of spectrum for English Language Learners
: the group of colors that a ray of light can be separated into including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet : the colors that can be seen in a rainbow
: an entire range of light waves, radio waves, etc.
: a complete range of different opinions, people, etc.
SPECTRUM Defined for Kids
Definition of spectrum for Students
: 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)
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 orderb: any of various continua that resemble a spectrum in consisting of an ordered arrangement by a particular characteristic (as frequency or energy): as (1): electromagnetic spectrum (2): mass spectrumc: the representation (as a plot) of a spectrum
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