definitions
  • synonyms

atomic clock


noun

an extremely accurate electronic clock regulated by the resonance frequency of atoms or molecules of certain substances, as cesium.

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Nearby words

atom trap, atom-bomb, atomic, atomic age, atomic bomb, atomic clock, atomic cocktail, atomic energy, atomic energy authority, atomic energy commission, atomic force microscope

Origin of atomic clock

First recorded in 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for atomic clock

atomic clock


noun

an extremely accurate clock in which an electrical oscillator is controlled by the natural vibrations of an atomic or molecular system such as caesium or ammonia
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

Science definitions for atomic clock

atomic clock


An extremely precise clock whose rate is controlled by a periodic process (such as vibration, or the absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation) that occurs at a steady rate in atoms or molecules. The standard atomic clock is based on the vibrations of cesium atoms and is so accurate that it would gain or lose less than one second in three million years. Atomic clocks are used to help track satellites, run navigation systems, and study movements of the Earth's crust.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for atomic clock

atomic clock


The most accurate clock available. Time is measured by the movement of electrons in cesium atoms. The standard second is now defined by measurements on an atomic clock.

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.