heat death

Origin of heat death

First recorded in 1925–30

entropy

[en-truh-pee]
noun
  1. Thermodynamics.
    1. (on a macroscopic scale) a function of thermodynamic variables, as temperature, pressure, or composition, that is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process. A closed system evolves toward a state of maximum entropy.
    2. (in statistical mechanics) a measure of the randomness of the microscopic constituents of a thermodynamic system. Symbol: S
  2. (in data transmission and information theory) a measure of the loss of information in a transmitted signal or message.
  3. (in cosmology) a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature (heat death).
  4. a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.

Origin of entropy

< German Entropie (1865); see en-2, -tropy
Related formsen·tro·pic [en-troh-pik, -trop-ik] /ɛnˈtroʊ pɪk, -ˈtrɒp ɪk/, adjectiveen·tro·pi·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for heat death

entropy

noun plural -pies
  1. a thermodynamic quantity that changes in a reversible process by an amount equal to the heat absorbed or emitted divided by the thermodynamic temperature. It is measured in joules per kelvinSymbol: S See also law of thermodynamics
  2. a statistical measure of the disorder of a closed system expressed by S = k log P + c where P is the probability that a particular state of the system exists, k is the Boltzmann constant, and c is another constant
  3. lack of pattern or organization; disorder
  4. a measure of the efficiency of a system, such as a code or language, in transmitting information

Word Origin for entropy

C19: from en- ² + -trope

heat death

noun
  1. thermodynamics the condition of any closed system when its total entropy is a maximum and it has no available energy. If the universe is a closed system, it should eventually reach this state
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 heat death

entropy

n.

1868, from German Entropie "measure of the disorder of a system," coined 1865 (on analogy of Energie) by German physicist Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888) from Greek entropia "a turning toward," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + trope "a turning" (see trope). Related: Entropic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

heat death in Medicine

entropy

[ĕntrə-pē]
n.
  1. For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.
  2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
Related formsen•tropic (ĕn-trōpĭk, -trŏpĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

heat death in Science

entropy

[ĕntrə-pē]
  1. A measure of the amount of energy in a physical system not available to do work. As a physical system becomes more disordered, and its energy becomes more evenly distributed, that energy becomes less able to do work. For example, a car rolling along a road has kinetic energy that could do work (by carrying or colliding with something, for example); as friction slows it down and its energy is distributed to its surroundings as heat, it loses this ability. The amount of entropy is often thought of as the amount of disorder in a system. See also heat death.

heat death

  1. The eventual dispersion of all of the energy within a physical system to a completely uniform distribution of heat energy, that is, to maximum entropy. Heat death for all macroscopic physical systems, including the universe, is predicted by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. See more at entropy thermodynamics.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

heat death in Culture

entropy

[(en-truh-pee)]

A measure of the disorder of any system, or of the unavailability of its heat energy for work. One way of stating the second law of thermodynamics — the principle that heat will not flow from a cold to a hot object spontaneously — is to say that the entropy of an isolated system can, at best, remain the same and will increase for most systems. Thus, the overall disorder of an isolated system must increase.

Note

Entropy is often used loosely to refer to the breakdown or disorganization of any system: “The committee meeting did nothing but increase the entropy.”

Note

In the nineteenth century, a popular scientific notion suggested that entropy was gradually increasing, and therefore the universe was running down and eventually all motion would cease. When people realized that this would not happen for billions of years, if it happened at all, concern about this notion generally disappeared.
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.