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 Even shallow water selectively absorbs and scatters light at different wavelengths, making certain features hard to see and washing out colors—especially reds and yellows. Erik Olsen, Scientific American, "“Sea-thru” Brings Clarity to Underwater Photos," 14 Nov. 2019 The team’s measurements indicate that the film, even when just 50 nanometers thick, reflects more than 90% of incoming light at wavelengths ranging from the far-ultraviolet to the midinfrared. W. Wayt Gibbs, Science | AAAS, "The next graphene? Shiny and magnetic, a new form of pure carbon dazzles with potential," 12 Nov. 2019 Scientists have used gravitational lensing to obtain images of galaxies at optical wavelengths but never in the X-ray range of the electromagnetic spectrum, according to a statement from MIT. BostonGlobe.com, "Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have used nature’s biggest lens to see the X-rays emitted by a young galaxy 9.4 billion light-years away.," 17 Oct. 2019 Water, in particular, absorbs near-infrared light at specific wavelengths, creating a visible sign of water vapor. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Water found on a potentially life-friendly alien planet," 11 Sep. 2019 The astronomers captured the images every one or two hours at 10 specific wavelengths throughout 2016 and 2017. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Here's How Aliens Might See Earth," 21 Aug. 2019 The Casimir interaction between teflon and gold is repulsive and functions primarily at short wavelengths. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Researchers balance Casimir effects, make tiny hoverboard," 6 June 2019 The most prominent absorption lines of hydrogen and ionized oxygen are at very short wavelengths, in the ultraviolet and X-ray portions of the spectrum. Quanta Magazine, "A Short History of the Missing Universe," 19 Sep. 2018 To do this, cell companies will have to add considerably more radios that utilize a shorter wavelength than 4G radios. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Why design will make or break the 5G revolution," 5 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for wavelength

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The first known use of wavelength was in 1850

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Statistics for wavelength

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Wavelength.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wavelength. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for wavelength


How to pronounce wavelength (audio)

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).


heavy with or as if with moisture

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