[band-width, -with]
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  1. Telecommunications. the smallest range of frequencies constituting a band within which a particular signal can be transmitted without distortion.
  2. Digital Technology. the transmission capacity of an electronic communications device or system; the speed of data transfer: a high-bandwidth Internet connection.
  3. mental capacity; intelligence: Don't listen to him—he has really low bandwidth.
  4. a person's capacity to handle or think about more than one thing at the same time: He doesn't have the bandwidth to make those kinds of decisions.

Origin of bandwidth

First recorded in 1925–30; band2 + width Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bandwidth

Contemporary Examples of bandwidth

Historical Examples of bandwidth

  • Many-to-many communication is not just a matter of bandwidth on digital networks, but of self-definition, also.

British Dictionary definitions for bandwidth


  1. the range of frequencies within a given waveband used for a particular transmission
  2. the range of frequencies over which a receiver or amplifier should not differ by more than a specified amount
  3. the range of frequencies used in a specific telecommunications signal
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 bandwidth

1930, in electronics, from band (n.1) + width.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bandwidth in Science


[băndwĭdth′, -wĭth′]
  1. The numerical difference between the upper and lower frequencies of a band of electromagnetic radiation, especially an assigned range of radio frequencies.
  2. The amount of data that can be passed along a communications channel in a given period of time. For analog devices, such as standard telephones, bandwith is the range of frequencies that can be transmitted and is expressed in hertz (cycles per second). For digital devices, bandwidth is measured in bits per second. The wider the bandwidth, the faster data can be sent.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bandwidth in Culture


The amount of data that can be carried by a digital communication medium, often expressed in hertz.


Within the radio and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum limited bandwidth is available, and in the United States the use of the spectrum is regulated and allocated by the FCC. (See VHF and UHF.)
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.