statistical mechanics


plural in form but usually singular in construction
: a branch of mechanics dealing with the application of the principles of statistics to the mechanics of a system consisting of a large number of parts having motions that differ by small steps over a large range

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Andy is one of the pioneers of inflation, and these days has been thinking about the foundations of cosmology, which brings you smack up against other foundational issues in fields like statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 16 Apr. 2012 This led to the development of statistical mechanics, which was also wildly successful. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 16 Nov. 2011 Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics are the powerful methods physics has developed to derive the properties of bodies—such as their temperature and pressure—from the basic behavior of their atoms and molecules, using probability. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, 17 Mar. 2022 Ergodicity is a crucial concept in statistical mechanics, which (for example) deduces the behavior of a large volume of gas from the motions of its uncountable individual molecules. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 18 Mar. 2022 For these unruly systems, statistical mechanics falls short in representing phase transitions. Quanta Magazine, 11 Nov. 2021 Mathematically, these systems are elegantly described with statistical mechanics, the branch of physics that explains how collections of objects behave. Quanta Magazine, 11 Nov. 2021 But all these extra energy sources and mismatched reactions make for a complex dynamical system beyond the reach of statistical mechanics. Quanta Magazine, 11 Nov. 2021 In the parlance of statistical mechanics, this is known as a scale-free correlation. Brandon Keim, New York Times, 1 Oct. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1885, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of statistical mechanics was in 1885

Dictionary Entries Near statistical mechanics

Cite this Entry

“Statistical mechanics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on statistical mechanics

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

A Good Old-Fashioned Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?