- the phenomenon exhibited by wave fronts that, passing the edge of an opaque body, are modulated, thereby causing a redistribution of energy within the front: it is detectable in light waves by the presence of a pattern of closely spaced dark and light bands (diffraction pattern) at the edge of a shadow.
- the bending of waves, especially sound and light waves, around obstacles in their path.
Origin of diffraction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for diffraction
The diffraction spectrum is therefore termed a normal spectrum.
Dispersion may be caused either by refraction or by diffraction.
This inflection of the light receives the name of Diffraction.Six Lectures on Light
The halo diminishes in brightness from the centre outwards, and is probably due to the diffraction of light.
In 1818 he read a memoir on diffraction for which in the ensuing year he received the prize of the Acadmie des Sciences at Paris.
- physics a deviation in the direction of a wave at the edge of an obstacle in its path
- any phenomenon caused by diffraction and interference of light, such as the formation of light and dark fringes by the passage of light through a small aperture
- deflection of sound waves caused by an obstacle or by nonhomogeneity of a medium
C17: from New Latin diffractiō a breaking to pieces, from Latin diffringere to shatter, from dis- apart + frangere to break
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
Word Origin and History for diffraction
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Change in the directions and intensities of a group of waves after passing by an obstacle or through an aperture.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- The bending and spreading of a wave, such as a light wave, around the edge of an object. See more at wave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.