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[fruh-nel, French frey-nel] /frəˈnɛl, French freɪˈnɛl/
a unit of frequency, equal to 10 12 cycles per second.
Origin of fresnel
First recorded in 1935-40; named after Augustin Jean Fresnel


[fruh-nel; French frey-nel] /frəˈnɛl; French freɪˈnɛl/
Augustin Jean, 1788–1827, French physicist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fresnel
Historical Examples
  • fresnel dipped a hand into his pocket, and fetched thence a key.

    Scaramouche 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.

  • Rumford and also fresnel devised multiple-wick burners, thus increasing the luminous intensity.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • fresnel devised many improvements in which he used refracting and reflecting prisms for the outer elements.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • fresnel and Ampre for true ones, and then imagines my true results are like those erroneous ones.

  • From that time the undulatory theory lost ground, until it was revived by Young and fresnel.

  • As to double refraction, fresnel made it depend on the unequal elasticity of the aether in different directions.

British Dictionary definitions for fresnel


/ˈfreɪnɛl; French frɛnɛl/
a unit of frequency equivalent to 1012 hertz
Word Origin
C20: named after Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788–1827), French physicist


/French frɛnɛl/
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
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fresnel in Science
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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