• synonyms


noun, plural al·be·dos.
  1. Astronomy. the ratio of the light reflected by a planet or satellite to that received by it.
  2. Meteorology. such a ratio for any part of the earth's surface or atmosphere.
  3. the white, inner rind of a citrus fruit.
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Origin of albedo

1855–60; < Late Latin albēdō whiteness, equivalent to alb(us) white + -ēdō noun suffix; cf. torpedo
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for albedo

Historical Examples of albedo

  • The asteroid's efficiency in reflecting sunlight was its albedo.

    Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet

    Harold Leland Goodwin

  • Its "albedo," in other words, is 0·17, which is precisely that ascribed to the moon.

  • Its theoretical mean temperature, taking into account both distance from the sun and albedo, is 34° C. below freezing.

  • An albedo equal to that of Mars was assumed as the basis of the calculation.

  • The telescopes showed Sennech's albedo down to a fraction of normal; that, he supposed, would indicate smoke in the atmosphere.


    Carroll Mather Capps

British Dictionary definitions for albedo


  1. the ratio of the intensity of light reflected from an object, such as a planet, to that of the light it receives from the sun
  2. physics the probability that a neutron passing through a surface will return through that surface
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Word Origin for albedo

C19: from Church Latin: whiteness, from Latin albus white
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 albedo


"ratio of light reflected from a surface," 1859, from Latin albedo, literally "whiteness," from albus "white" (see alb).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

albedo in Science


  1. The fraction of the total light striking a surface that gets reflected from that surface. An object that has a high albedo (near 1) is very bright; an object that has a low albedo (near 0) is dark. The Earth's albedo is about 0.37. The Moon's is about 0.12.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.