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prism

[priz-uh m]
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noun
  1. Optics. a transparent solid body, often having triangular bases, used for dispersing light into a spectrum or for reflecting rays of light.
  2. Geometry. a solid having bases or ends that are parallel, congruent polygons and sides that are parallelograms.
  3. Crystallography. a form having faces parallel to the vertical axis and intersecting the horizontal axes.

Origin of prism

1560–70; < Late Latin prīsma < Greek prîsma literally, something sawed, akin to prī́zein to saw, prīstēs sawyer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prism

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Simba continued to stare, and Kingozi had lifted his prism glasses.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Notice a rainbow, when possible, and form one with a prism in the schoolroom.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • What colors of the prism are shown most in sunset or sunrise?

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • Now look for a pencil or a piece of chalk through the prism, in the same way.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • Hold a prism in the sunlight by the window and make a "rainbow" on the wall.

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne


British Dictionary definitions for prism

prism

noun
  1. a transparent polygonal solid, often having triangular ends and rectangular sides, for dispersing light into a spectrum or for reflecting and deviating light. They are used in spectroscopes, binoculars, periscopes, etc
  2. a form of crystal with faces parallel to the vertical axis
  3. maths a polyhedron having parallel, polygonal, and congruent bases and sides that are parallelograms

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin prisma, from Greek: something shaped by sawing, from prizein to saw
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 prism

n.

1560s, a type of solid figure, from Late Latin prisma, from Greek prisma (Euclid), literally "something sawed," from prizein "to saw" (see prion). Meaning in optics is first attested 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prism in Medicine

prism

([object Object])
n.
  1. A solid figure whose bases or ends have the same size and shape and are parallel to one another, and each of whose sides is a parallelogram.
  2. A transparent body of this form, often of glass and usually with triangular ends, used for separating white light passed through it into a spectrum or for reflecting beams of light.
  3. Such a body used in testing or correcting imbalance of the extrinsic ocular muscles.
Related formspris•matic (-mătĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

prism in Science

prism

[prĭzəm]
  1. A geometric solid whose bases are congruent polygons lying in parallel planes and whose sides are parallelograms.
  2. A solid of this type, often made of glass with triangular ends, used to disperse light and break it up into a spectrum.
  3. A crystal form having 3, 4, 6, 8, or 12 faces parallel to the vertical axis and intersecting the horizontal axis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

prism in Culture

prism

[(priz-uhm)]

A solid figure in geometry with bases or ends of the same size and shape and sides that have parallel edges. Also, an object that has this shape.

Note

A prism of glass (or a similar transparent material) can be used to bend different wavelengths of light by different amounts through refraction. This bending separates a beam of white light into a spectrum of colored light.
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.
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