symmetry

noun
sym·​me·​try | \ˈsi-mə-trē \
plural symmetries

Definition of symmetry 

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

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Examples of symmetry in a Sentence

the symmetry of the human body The building has perfect symmetry.

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s symmetry, whether or not people in a space are in VR. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "With Venues, Oculus and Facebook Push Social VR Into New Territory," 30 May 2018 Recently, the study of mirror symmetry has taken a new turn. Kevin Hartnett, WIRED, "Exploring the Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds," 15 Apr. 2018 The campaign enjoys the symmetry of a 50th anniversary: June 23 marks a half-century since the culmination of the original Poor People’s Campaign, where 3,000 protesters camped on the Washington Mall for six weeks in the name of economic justice. Matt Stieb, Daily Intelligencer, "The Return of the Poor People’s Campaign," 19 June 2018 Racing secretary Rick Hammerle, and a member of our blue-ribbon Triple Crown panel, sometimes likes the symmetry of even and odd races but broke that on Thursday by making the turf races the first, third, sixth and eighth. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Count Fleet comes in at No. 4 in Triple Crown ratings," 7 June 2018 Holding in the great profusion of nature is complex geometry, unfolding like the symmetries of a kaleidoscope. Glenn Dixon, Smithsonian, "The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug," 6 July 2018 For mathematicians, pi obscures some of the underlying symmetries of mathematics and muddies up what should be elegant with extraneous factors of two. Randyn Charles Bartholomew, Scientific American, "Let's Use Tau--It's Easier Than Pi," 25 June 2014 Skyscraper’ Photo: Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC, and Universal Pictures There’s a nice symmetry to the narrative structure—husband and wife help save each other, and their young son and daughter, whether the parents are in or out of extremis. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Skyscraper’ Review: Outsize Building, Outlandish Fun," 12 July 2018 There is everything to gain in extra time, so, by adverse symmetry, everything for the other team to potentially gain as well. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Extra time is lame. Let's just skip straight to penalties at the World Cup," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'symmetry.' 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 symmetry

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for symmetry

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

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Statistics for symmetry

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for symmetry

The first known use of symmetry was in 1563

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More Definitions for symmetry

symmetry

noun

English Language Learners Definition of symmetry

: the quality of something that has two sides or halves that are the same or very close in size, shape, and position : the quality of having symmetrical parts

symmetry

noun
sym·​me·​try | \ˈsi-mə-trē \
plural symmetries

Kids Definition of symmetry

: close agreement in size, shape, and position of parts that are on opposite sides of a dividing line or center : an arrangement involving regular and balanced proportions the symmetry of the human body

symmetry

noun
sym·​me·​try | \ˈsim-ə-trē \
plural symmetries

Medical Definition of symmetry 

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

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