wave·​length | \ ˈwāv-ˌleŋ(k)th How to pronounce wavelength (audio) \

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

The red, orange, and yellow wavelengths pass through into Earth’s shadow and get projected onto the moon. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The longest lunar eclipse of the century will be on July 27," 24 July 2018 Photo: Diana Rich The problem, experts said, is that electric-vehicle motors generate electromagnetic frequencies on the same wavelength as AM radio signals. Chester Dawson, WSJ, "Your Tesla Can Go Zero to 60 in 2.5 Seconds But Can’t Get AM Radio," 6 Nov. 2018 The arrest of Phra Buddha Issara targeted a monk who would seem to have been on the same wavelength as the junta. George Styllis, Washington Post, "Thai crackdown targets Buddhist monks amid accusations of embezzlement and fraud," 24 June 2018 For these wavelengths, most materials have a refractive index that is just very slightly less than one. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gas jets make beautiful lens for light we can’t normally focus," 21 Dec. 2018 Once the material was collected, the scientists used magnetic resonance and spectroscopy, the dividing of light into wavelengths, to understand how much material absorbed a particular frequency of infrared light. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Milky Way Is Full of Potentially Toxic "Space Grease"," 28 June 2018 In 2011 that patience began to pay off as the point source became lopsided at radio wavelengths, perhaps due to the emission of a jet. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Giant Black Hole Swallows a Star and Belches Out a Superfast Particle Jet," 14 June 2018 Photo: Qualcomm Short wavelengths generally mean more data over shorter distances. David Pierce, WSJ, "From Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to 5G, All Your Wireless Is About to Change," 27 Jan. 2019 Light traveling to us from distant objects is Doppler shifted to longer wavelengths. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Pulsars could convert dark matter into something we could see," 20 Dec. 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.

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First Known Use of wavelength

1850, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near wavelength

wave goodbye


wave height



wave line


Statistics for wavelength

Last Updated

27 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wavelength

The first known use of wavelength was in 1850

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More Definitions for wavelength



English Language Learners Definition of wavelength

technical : the distance from one wave of energy to another as it is traveling from one point to another point
informal 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 How to pronounce wavelength (audio) \

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 How to pronounce wavelength (audio) \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wavelength

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wavelength

Spanish Central: Translation of wavelength

Nglish: Translation of wavelength for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wavelength

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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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