[fruh-nel, French frey-nel]


a unit of frequency, equal to 1012 cycles per second.

Origin of fresnel

First recorded in 1935–40; named after Augustin Jean Fresnel


[fruh-nel; French frey-nel]


Augustin Jean,1788–1827, French physicist. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fresnel

Historical Examples of fresnel

  • Fresnel dipped a hand into his pocket, and fetched thence a key.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Fresnel, Oppert, and Thomas, were included in the same disaster.

  • The light-house has since been rebuilt, and shows a Fresnel light.

    Cape Cod

    Henry D. Thoreau

  • Fresnel therefore adopted the ingenious device proposed by Condorcet, that of constructing a lens of a number of distinct pieces.

  • But for lenses the burner has seventeen films of flame, and is said to possess six times the power of the Fresnel lamp.

British Dictionary definitions for fresnel



a unit of frequency equivalent to 10 12 hertz

Word Origin for fresnel

C20: named after Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788–1827), French physicist



Augustin Jean (oɡystɛ̃ ʒɑ̃). 1788–1827, French physicist: worked on the interference of light, contributing to the wave theory of light
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

fresnel in Science


[frā-nĕl]Augustin Jean 1788-1827

French physicist whose investigations of the interference, diffraction, and polarization of light helped establish the theory that light moves in a wavelike motion. Fresnel also made great contributions to the field of optics, including the development of a compound lens for use in lighthouses.
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