wave·length | \ ˈwāv-ˌleŋ(k)th \

Definition of wavelength 

1 : the distance in the line of advance of a wave from any one point to the next point of corresponding phase

2 : a particular course or line of thought especially as related to mutual understanding two people on different wavelengths

Examples of wavelength in a Sentence

Light and sound have different wavelengths.

Recent Examples on the Web

Trace elements present in varying amounts cause the different colors by altering which wavelengths of light are absorbed and reflected by the stone. C. Claiborne Ray, New York Times, "From One Mineral, Brilliant Reds and Bright Blues," 22 June 2018 Each cable carries data on many channels split across different wavelengths of light and multiple pairs of fibers in the bundle. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Seafloor fiber optic cables can work like seismometers," 15 June 2018 Some metallic salt additives were used to match the wavelength of the flash with the range of the laser system. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "The Soviet Laser Space Pistol, Revealed," 14 June 2018 Except this year Democratic enthusiasm was so high because of, like, everything, that the slates in those races filled with rarin’-to-go Dems representing every wavelength of blue from desaturated purple to deep indigo. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Elections Don’t Work at All. You Can Blame the Math," 6 June 2018 The retina in a human eye can detect light between wavelengths of 400 and 700 nanometers, a range known as the visible spectrum. Erin Gabriel, CNN, "The health benefits of a colorful life," 26 Apr. 2018 In 2016 IceCube's operators set up an alert service, with the hope of getting more telescopes at different wavelengths involved in the hunt. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Ghostly particle caught in polar ice ushers in new way to look at the universe," 12 July 2018 This was a performance like no other, fabulously virtuosic with soloist and orchestra uncannily on the same wavelength. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "Beethoven rolls over at the Ojai Music Festival," 8 June 2018 Swiftly, scores of scientists began pointing their telescopes in that direction, staring at the right region of the universe in every wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum. Author: Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "In a cosmic first, scientists detect ‘ghost particles’ from a distant galaxy," 12 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of wavelength

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wavelength

Share wavelength

Dictionary Entries near wavelength

wave goodbye


wave height



wave line


Statistics for wavelength

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wavelength

The first known use of wavelength was in 1850

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wavelength



English Language Learners Definition of wavelength

: the distance from one wave of energy to another as it is traveling from one point to another point

—used especially in the phrases on the same wavelength and on a different wavelength to say that people share or do not share a way of thinking


wave·length | \ ˈwāv-ˌleŋth \

Kids Definition of wavelength

: the distance in the line of advance of a wave from any one point to the next similar point


wave·length | \ -ˌleŋ(k)th \

Medical Definition of wavelength 

: the distance in the line of advance of a wave from any one point to the next point of corresponding phase symbol λ

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on wavelength

What made you want to look up wavelength? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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