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[fruh-nel, French frey-nel]
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  1. a unit of frequency, equal to 1012 cycles per second.

Origin of fresnel

First recorded in 1935–40; named after Augustin Jean Fresnel


[fruh-nel; French frey-nel]
  1. Augustin Jean,1788–1827, French physicist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fresnel

Historical Examples

  • Fresnel dipped a hand into his pocket, and fetched thence a key.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Fresnel, Oppert, and Thomas, were included in the same disaster.

  • The light-house has since been rebuilt, and shows a Fresnel light.

    Cape Cod

    Henry D. Thoreau

  • Fresnel therefore adopted the ingenious device proposed by Condorcet, that of constructing a lens of a number of distinct pieces.

  • But for lenses the burner has seventeen films of flame, and is said to possess six times the power of the Fresnel lamp.

British Dictionary definitions for fresnel


  1. a unit of frequency equivalent to 10 12 hertz

Word Origin

C20: named after Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788–1827), French physicist


  1. Augustin Jean (oɡystɛ̃ ʒɑ̃). 1788–1827, French physicist: worked on the interference of light, contributing to the wave theory of light
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

fresnel in Science


  1. French physicist whose investigations of the interference, diffraction, and polarization of light helped establish the theory that light moves in a wavelike motion. Fresnel also made great contributions to the field of optics, including the development of a compound lens for use in lighthouses.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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