trans·​mis·​sion | \tran(t)s-ˈmi-shən, tranz-\

Definition of transmission 

1 : an act, process, or instance of transmitting transmission of a nerve impulse across a synapse

2 : the passage of radio waves in the space between transmitting and receiving stations also : the act or process of transmitting by radio or television

3 : an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the driveshaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a live axle also : the speed-changing gears in such an assembly

4 : something that is transmitted : message

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Other Words from transmission

transmissive \ tran(t)s-​ˈmi-​siv , ˌtranz-​ \ adjective
transmissivity \ ˌtran(t)s-​(ˌ)mi-​ˈsi-​və-​tē , ˌtranz-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Since trans- means "across", it's not hard to see the meaning of transmission. Disease transmission occurs when an infection passes from one living thing to another. TV signal transmission can be interrupted by tree leaves, including moving leaves and branches during a storm. Your car's transmission transmits the engine's power to the axle, changing the gears to keep the engine working with maximum efficiency at various speeds.

Examples of transmission in a Sentence

The equipment is used for the transmission of television signals. We are receiving a live transmission from the scene of the accident. the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next My car has a manual transmission. This car comes with automatic transmission.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In September, the Energy Department awarded Whitefish a more than $1 million contract to build power transmission lines in Missouri and Arkansas. Michael Biesecker, The Seattle Times, "Whitefish Energy gets US contracts after Puerto Rico ouster," 9 Oct. 2018 Perhaps most notably, Kleiser uses the concrete architecture and electrical transmission towers along the L.A. River to help inform his shots during the movie’s famous drag race, Thunder Road. Jared Cowan, Los Angeles Magazine, "Every L.A. Filming Location From Grease, 40 Years Later," 15 June 2018 By the time Maria hit, wooden power poles were rotted, transmission towers had rusted through and overgrown trees menaced thousands of miles of power lines. Washington Post, "Puerto Rico grid ‘teetering’ despite $3.8 billion repair job," 31 May 2018 By the time Maria hit, wooden power poles were rotted, transmission towers had rusted through and overgrown trees menaced thousands of miles of power lines. Michael Weissenstein,, "Puerto Rico grid 'teetering' despite $3.8 billion repair job," 30 May 2018 In April, an excavator hit a transmission tower in the south, and the lights went out again across the island. Jenny Vrentas,, "Five Giants, and Those Forgotten After the Storm," 23 May 2018 The storm ditched two to three feet of rain, flooding houses and hospitals, while raging winds tore roofs off houses and electrical transmission towers from the ground, plunging the island into darkness. Jane Palmer, CNN, "How to survive climate change: A lesson from Hurricane Maria," 20 Mar. 2018 In one measure of the Taliban’s reach, cellphone companies comply with the group’s request to halt service around 5 p.m. in parts of the country, including in Kunduz, a major city, lest the insurgents blow up transmission towers. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "In Peace Overture, Afghan President Offers Passports to Taliban," 28 Feb. 2018 Electricity costs less, thanks to local hydropower and the province’s position on the route of big transmission lines that bring power from China’s sparsely populated west. The Economist, "One of China’s poorest provinces wants to be a tech hub," 31 May 2018

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

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for transmission

Middle French, from Latin transmission-, transmissio, from transmittere to transmit

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Statistics for transmission

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for transmission

The first known use of transmission was in 1611

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English Language Learners Definition of transmission

: the act or process of sending electrical signals to a radio, television, computer, etc.

: something (such as a message or broadcast) that is transmitted to a radio, television, etc.

: the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another


trans·​mis·​sion | \trans-ˈmi-shən \

Kids Definition of transmission

1 : an act or process of transmitting, spreading, or passing along the transmission of a disease

2 : the gears that pass power from the engine to the axle that gives motion to a motor vehicle


trans·​mis·​sion | \tran(t)s-ˈmish-ən, tranz- \

Medical Definition of transmission 

: an act, process, or instance of transmitting transmission of HIV synaptic transmission

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trans·​mis·​sion | \tranz-ˈmi-shən, trans- \

Legal Definition of transmission 

: an act, process, or instance of transmitting

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More from Merriam-Webster on transmission

Spanish Central: Translation of transmission

Nglish: Translation of transmission for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of transmission for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about transmission

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