symmetry

noun

sym·​me·​try ˈsi-mə-trē How to pronounce symmetry (audio)
plural symmetries
1
: balanced proportions
also : beauty of form arising from balanced proportions
2
: the property of being symmetrical
especially : correspondence in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane or about a center or axis compare bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry
3
: a rigid motion of a geometric figure that determines a one-to-one mapping onto itself
4
: the property of remaining invariant under certain changes (as of orientation in space, of the sign of the electric charge, of parity, or of the direction of time flow)
used of physical phenomena and of equations describing them

Examples of symmetry in a Sentence

the symmetry of the human body The building has perfect symmetry.
Recent Examples on the Web Many of the most significant contributions to crossword culture—the first crossword contest, the rules for the grid’s symmetry and design—were pioneered by women who, like Farrar, found in the puzzle an intellectual outlet and an escape from the doldrums of housework. Anna Shechtman, The New Yorker, 18 Feb. 2024 There’s just something about symmetry that makes my brain happy. Blake Bakkila, Sunset Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024 That could also make for some serious AFC East symmetry as Sunday’s game might have been the last for legendary New England coach Bill Belichick. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 8 Jan. 2024 In a beautiful symmetry, service dogs are rescued from shelters, and then humans and dogs rescue each other. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 26 Dec. 2023 There’s a nice symmetry to the fact that Efira also starred in Triet’s 2019 psychodrama Sibyl alongside Anatomy of a Fall‘s Oscar nominee Sandra Hüller. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 There was a bittersweet symmetry to be found in learning of the death of Norman Jewison just a day before the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2024 In 1967 physicist Andrei Sakharov showed that this symmetry is intimately connected to the matter-antimatter imbalance. Luke Caldwell, Scientific American, 16 Jan. 2024 Around the same time, other researchers discovered that nature does sometimes violate CP symmetry. Luke Caldwell, Scientific American, 16 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'symmetry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin symmetria, from Greek, from symmetros symmetrical, from syn- + metron measure — more at measure

First Known Use

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of symmetry was in 1563

Dictionary Entries Near symmetry

Cite this Entry

“Symmetry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symmetry. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

symmetry

noun
sym·​me·​try ˈsim-ə-trē How to pronounce symmetry (audio)
plural symmetries
1
: balanced proportions
2
: close agreement in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane or around a central point compare bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry

Medical Definition

symmetry

noun
sym·​me·​try ˈsim-ə-trē How to pronounce symmetry (audio)
plural symmetries
1
: correspondence in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane or about a center or axis see bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry
2
: the property of remaining invariant under certain changes (as of orientation in space, of the sign of the electric charge, of parity, or of the direction of time flow)
used of physical phenomena and of equations describing them

More from Merriam-Webster on symmetry

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!