[am-pli-tood, -tyood]
See more synonyms for amplitude on
  1. the state or quality of being ample, especially as to breadth or width; largeness; greatness of extent.
  2. large or full measure; abundance; copiousness.
  3. mental range, scope, or capacity.
  4. Physics. the absolute value of the maximum displacement from a zero value during one period of an oscillation.
  5. Electricity. the maximum deviation of an alternating current from its average value.
  6. Astronomy. the arc of the horizon measured from the east or west point to the point where a vertical circle through a heavenly body would intersect the horizon.
  7. Mathematics. argument(def 8b).

Origin of amplitude

From the Latin word amplitūdō, dating back to 1540–50. See ample, -i-, -tude Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amplitude

Contemporary Examples of amplitude

  • Fairly or not, many people see that kind of amplitude of girth as a sign of irresponsibility or lack of discipline or something.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Christie Girth

    Michael Tomasky

    December 14, 2012

Historical Examples of amplitude

  • The amplitude is the width of swing of the individual particles of the waves.

  • The wealth of design and amplitude of the series are truly amazing.

  • The one is marked by energy and accuracy, the other by amplitude.


    John Tulloch

  • The harbor of New York gives, first of all, the impression of amplitude.

  • This is called the amplitude and is indicated by the distance A-b.


    Willis Eugene Tower

British Dictionary definitions for amplitude


  1. greatness of extent; magnitude
  2. abundance or copiousness
  3. breadth or scope, as of the mind
  4. astronomy the angular distance along the horizon measured from true east or west to the point of intersection of the vertical circle passing through a celestial body
  5. Also called: argument maths (of a complex number) the angle that the vector representing the complex number makes with the positive real axis. If the point (x, y) has polar coordinates (r, θ), the amplitude of x + i y is θ, that is, arctan y/xCompare modulus (def. 2) See also Argand diagram
  6. physics the maximum variation from the zero or mean value of a periodically varying quantity

Word Origin for amplitude

C16: from Latin amplitūdō breadth, from amplus spacious
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 amplitude

1540s, from Middle French amplitude or directly from Latin amplitudinem (nominative amplitudo) "wide extent, width," from amplus (see ample). Amplitude modulation in reference to radio wave broadcast (as opposed to frequency modulation) first attested 1921, usually abbreviated a.m.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

amplitude in Science


  1. Physics One half the full extent of a vibration, oscillation, or wave. The amplitude of an ocean wave is the maximum height of the wave crest above the level of calm water, or the maximum depth of the wave trough below the level of calm water. The amplitude of a pendulum swinging through an angle of 90° is 45°. Compare frequency.
  2. Electronics The amount by which a voltage or current changes from zero or an average value.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

amplitude in Culture


In physics, the height of a crest (or the depth of a trough) of a wave.

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.