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[gam-uh] /ˈgæm ə/
the third letter of the Greek alphabet (Γ, γ).
the consonant sound represented by this letter.
the third in a series of items.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. a star that is usually the third brightest of a constellation:
The third brightest star in the Southern Cross is Gamma Crucis.
a unit of weight equal to one microgram.
Physics. a unit of magnetic field strength, equal to 10− 5 gauss.
Photography. a measure of the degree of development of a negative or print.
Television. an analogous numerical indication of the degree of contrast between light and dark in the reproduction of an image in television.
Chiefly British. a grade showing that an individual student is in the third, or lowest, of three scholastic sections in a class.
Compare alpha (def 7), beta (def 8).
Origin of gamma
From the Greek word gámma Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for gamma


the third letter in the Greek alphabet (Γ, γ), a consonant, transliterated as g. When double, it is transcribed and pronounced as ng
the third highest grade or mark, as in an examination
a unit of magnetic field strength equal to 10–5 oersted. 1 gamma is equivalent to 0.795 775 × 10–3 ampere per metre
(photog, television) the numerical value of the slope of the characteristic curve of a photographic emulsion or television camera; a measure of the contrast reproduced in a photographic or television image
  1. involving or relating to photons of very high energy: a gamma detector
  2. relating to one of two or more allotropes or crystal structures of a solid: gamma iron
  3. relating to one of two or more isomeric forms of a chemical compound, esp one in which a group is attached to the carbon atom next but one to the atom to which the principal group is attached
Word Origin
C14: from Greek; related to Hebrew gīmel third letter of the Hebrew alphabet (probably: camel)


(foll by the genitive case of a specified constellation) the third brightest star in a constellation: Gamma Leonis
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 gamma

third letter of the Greek alphabet, c.1400, from Greek gamma, from Phoenician gimel, literally "camel" (see camel); so called for a fancied resemblance of its shape to some part of a camel. Gamma rays (1903) originally were thought to be a third type of radiation, now known to be identical with very short X-rays.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gamma in Medicine

gamma gam·ma (gām'ə)

  1. Symbol γ The third letter of the Greek alphabet.

  2. The third item in a series or system of classification.

  3. The third position from a designated carbon atom in an organic molecule at which an atom or a radical may be substituted.

  4. A unit of magnetic field strength equal to one hundred thousandth (10-5) of an oersted.

  5. A unit of mass equal to one millionth (10-6) of a gram.

  1. Relating to or being the atom or radical group that is in the third position relative to the functional group of atoms in an organic molecule.

  2. Relating to or characterizing a polypeptide chain that is one of five types of heavy chains that may be present in immunoglobins.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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