- the phenomenon exhibited by wave fronts that, passing the edge of an opaque body, are modulated, thereby causing a redistribution of energy within the front: it is detectable in light waves by the presence of a pattern of closely spaced dark and light bands (diffraction pattern) at the edge of a shadow.
- the bending of waves, especially sound and light waves, around obstacles in their path.
Origin of diffraction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- physics the distinctive pattern of light and dark fringes, rings, etc, formed by diffraction
- physics a deviation in the direction of a wave at the edge of an obstacle in its path
- any phenomenon caused by diffraction and interference of light, such as the formation of light and dark fringes by the passage of light through a small aperture
- deflection of sound waves caused by an obstacle or by nonhomogeneity of a medium
Word Origin for diffraction
C17: from New Latin diffractiō a breaking to pieces, from Latin diffringere to shatter, from dis- apart + frangere to break
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Change in the directions and intensities of a group of waves after passing by an obstacle or through an aperture.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- The interference pattern that results when a wave or a series of waves undergoes diffraction, as when passed through a diffraction grating or the lattices of a crystal. The pattern provides information about the frequency of the wave and the structure of the material causing the diffraction. See also interferometer.
- The bending and spreading of a wave, such as a light wave, around the edge of an object. See more at wave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.