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[am-pli-tood, -tyood] /ˈæm plɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/
the state or quality of being ample, especially as to breadth or width; largeness; greatness of extent.
large or full measure; abundance; copiousness.
mental range, scope, or capacity.
Physics. the absolute value of the maximum displacement from a zero value during one period of an oscillation.
Electricity. the maximum deviation of an alternating current from its average value.
Astronomy. the arc of the horizon measured from the east or west point to the point where a vertical circle through a heavenly body would intersect the horizon.
Mathematics. argument (def 8b).
Origin of amplitude
From the Latin word amplitūdō, dating back to 1540-50. See ample, -i-, -tude Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for amplitude
Contemporary Examples
  • Fairly or not, many people see that kind of amplitude of girth as a sign of irresponsibility or lack of discipline or something.

Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for amplitude


greatness of extent; magnitude
abundance or copiousness
breadth or scope, as of the mind
(astronomy) the angular distance along the horizon measured from true east or west to the point of intersection of the vertical circle passing through a celestial body
(maths) Also called argument. (of a complex number) the angle that the vector representing the complex number makes with the positive real axis. If the point (x, y) has polar coordinates (r, θ), the amplitude of x + iy is θ, that is, arctan y/x Compare modulus (sense 2) See also Argand diagram
(physics) the maximum variation from the zero or mean value of a periodically varying quantity
Word Origin
C16: from Latin amplitūdō breadth, from amplus spacious
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amplitude

1540s, from Middle French amplitude or directly from Latin amplitudinem (nominative amplitudo) "wide extent, width," from amplus (see ample). Amplitude modulation in reference to radio wave broadcast (as opposed to frequency modulation) first attested 1921, usually abbreviated a.m.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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amplitude in Science
  1. Physics One half the full extent of a vibration, oscillation, or wave. The amplitude of an ocean wave is the maximum height of the wave crest above the level of calm water, or the maximum depth of the wave trough below the level of calm water. The amplitude of a pendulum swinging through an angle of 90° is 45°. Compare frequency.

  2. Electronics The amount by which a voltage or current changes from zero or an average value.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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amplitude in Culture

amplitude definition

In physics, the height of a crest (or the depth of a trough) of a wave.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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