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See more synonyms for harmonic on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to harmony, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
  2. marked by harmony; in harmony; concordant; consonant.
  3. Physics. of, relating to, or noting a series of oscillations in which each oscillation has a frequency that is an integral multiple of the same basic frequency.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. (of a set of values) related in a manner analogous to the frequencies of tones that are consonant.
    2. capable of being represented by sine and cosine functions.
    3. (of a function) satisfying the Laplace equation.
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  1. Music. overtone(def 1).
  2. Physics. a single oscillation whose frequency is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency.
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Origin of harmonic

1560–70; < Latin harmonicus < Greek harmonikós musical, suitable. See harmony, -ic
Related formshar·mon·i·cal·ly, adverbhar·mon·i·cal·ness, nounnon·har·mon·ic, adjectiveun·har·mon·ic, adjectiveun·har·mon·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for harmonic

melodic, symphonic, consonant, musical, accordant, dulcet, euphonious, mellifluous, melodious, rhythmical, sonorous, symphonious, tuneful, concordant

Examples from the Web for harmonic

Contemporary Examples of harmonic

Historical Examples of harmonic

  • His researches on the dynamo caused him to devise what he calls an 'harmonic engine.'

  • The law of harmonic sounds reappears in the harmonic colors.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Art has been defined as "the harmonic expression of the emotions."

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • In it are the harmonic, melodic, and spiritual germs of modern music.

    Old Fogy

    James Huneker

  • This volume is an aid to the study of the “Harmonic Series.”

British Dictionary definitions for harmonic


  1. of, involving, producing, or characterized by harmony; harmonious
  2. music of, relating to, or belonging to harmony
  3. maths
    1. capable of expression in the form of sine and cosine functions
    2. of or relating to numbers whose reciprocals form an arithmetic progression
  4. physics of or concerned with an oscillation that has a frequency that is an integral multiple of a fundamental frequency
  5. physics of or concerned with harmonics
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  1. physics music a component of a periodic quantity, such as a musical tone, with a frequency that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency. The first harmonic is the fundamental, the second harmonic (twice the fundamental frequency) is the first overtone, the third harmonic (three times the fundamental frequency) is the second overtone, etc
  2. music (not in technical use) overtone: in this case, the first overtone is the first harmonic, etc
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See also harmonics
Derived Formsharmonically, adverb

Word Origin for harmonic

C16: from Latin harmonicus relating to harmony
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 harmonic


1560s, "relating to music;" earlier (c.1500) armonical "tuneful, harmonious," from Latin harmonicus, from Greek harmonikos "harmonic, musical, skilled in music," from harmonia (see harmony). Meaning "relating to harmony" is from 1660s. The noun, short for harmionic tone, is recorded from 1777.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

harmonic in Science


  1. Periodic motion whose frequency is a whole-number multiple of some fundamental frequency. The motion of objects or substances that vibrate or oscillate in a regular fashion, such as the strings of musical instruments, can be analyzed as a combination of a fundamental frequency and higher harmonics.♦ Harmonics above the first harmonic (the fundamental frequency) in sound waves are called overtones. The first overtone is the second harmonic, the second overtone is the third harmonic, and so on.
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  1. Related to or having the properties of such periodic motion.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.