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[rey-dee-ey-shuh n] /ˌreɪ diˈeɪ ʃən/
  1. the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves.
  2. the complete process in which energy is emitted by one body, transmitted through an intervening medium or space, and absorbed by another body.
  3. the energy transferred by these processes.
the act or process of radiating.
something that is radiated.
radial arrangement of parts.
Origin of radiation
1545-55; < Latin radiātiōn- (stem of radiātiō) a glittering, shining. See radiate, -ion
Related forms
radiational, adjective
antiradiation, adjective
interradiation, noun
nonradiation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for radiation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps the tape was fuzzy or it may have been fogged in transit by radiation.

    Mezzerow Loves Company Floyd L. Wallace
  • There is also a significant amount of radiation characteristic of uranexite.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • "Here's the source of radiation, sir," a searchman reported.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • The apparent attributes of the stars are studied by the aid of their radiation.

    Lectures on Stellar Statistics Carl Vilhelm Ludvig Charlier
  • The radiation of a star is different for different wave-lengths (λ).

    Lectures on Stellar Statistics Carl Vilhelm Ludvig Charlier
British Dictionary definitions for radiation


  1. the emission or transfer of radiant energy as particles, electromagnetic waves, sound, etc
  2. the particles, etc, emitted, esp the particles and gamma rays emitted in nuclear decay
(med) Also called radiation therapy. treatment using a radioactive substance
(anatomy) a group of nerve fibres that diverge from their common source
the act, state, or process of radiating or being radiated
(surveying) the fixing of points around a central plane table by using an alidade and measuring tape
Derived Forms
radiational, adjective
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 radiation

mid-15c., "act or process of radiating," from Middle French radiation and directly from Latin radiationem (nominative radiatio) "a shining, radiation," noun of action from past participle stem of radiare "to beam, shine, gleam; make beaming," from radius "beam of light; spoke of a wheel" (see radius). Meaning "rays or beams emitted" is from 1560s. Meaning "divergence from a center" is 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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radiation in Medicine

radiation ra·di·a·tion (rā'dē-ā'shən)

  1. The act or condition of diverging in all directions from a center.

  2. The emission and propagation of energy in the form of rays or waves.

  3. The energy radiated or transmitted in the form of rays, waves, or particles.

  4. A stream of particles or electromagnetic waves that is emitted by the atoms and molecules of a radioactive substance as a result of nuclear decay.

  5. Radiotherapy.

  6. The radial arrangement of anatomical or histological parts.

  7. The spread of a group of organisms into new habitats.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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radiation in Science
    1. Streams of photons, electrons, small nuclei, or other particles. Radiation is given off by a wide variety of processes, such as thermal activity, nuclear reactions (as in fission), and by radioactive decay.

    2. The emission or movement of such particles through space or a medium, such as air. See Notes at conduction, electromagnetic radiation.

  1. The use of such energy, especially x-rays, in medical diagnosis and treatment.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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radiation in Culture

radiation definition

Energy sent out in the form of particles or waves. (See alpha radiation, beta radiation, blackbody, cosmic rays, electromagnetic radiation, fluorescence, gamma radiation, photon, and quanta.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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