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Definition of "spectrum" []

  • Physics The distribution of a characteristic of a physical system or phenomenon, especially: (noun)
  • Physics The distribution of energy emitted by a radiant source, as by an incandescent body, arranged in order of wavelengths. (noun)
  • Physics The distribution of atomic or subatomic particles in a system, as in a magnetically resolved molecular beam, arranged in order of masses. (noun)
  • A graphic or photographic representation of such a distribution. (noun)
  • A range of values of a quantity or set of related quantities. (noun)
  • The distribution of colours produced when white light is dispersed by a prism or diffraction grating. There is a continuous change in wavelength from red, the longest wavelength, to violet, the shortest. Seven colours are usually distinguished: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • The whole range of electromagnetic radiation with respect to its wavelength or frequency (noun)
  • Any particular distribution of electromagnetic radiation often showing lines or bands characteristic of the substance emitting the radiation or absorbing it (noun)
  • Any similar distribution or record of the energies, velocities, masses, etc, of atoms, ions, electrons, etc (noun)
  • Any range or scale, as of capabilities, emotions, or moods (noun)

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Use "spectrum" in a sentence
  • "The Supreme Court has distinguished the regulation of radio spectrum from the regulation of printing presses, and applied more lenient scrutiny to the regulation of spectrum, based on its conclusion that the spectrum is unusually scarce."
  • "But the carriers have adopted the phrase "spectrum crunch," designed to make vivid the pain of a hypothetical moment when there are more data than the available spectrum can handle."
  • "Across the spectrum is a widespread feeling that Washington is broken almost beyond repair."