Origin of hertz

First recorded in 1925–30; named after H. R. Hertz


[hurts, hairts; German herts]
  1. Gu·stav [goo s-tahf] /ˈgʊs tɑf/, 1887–1975, German physicist: Nobel Prize 1925.
  2. Hein·rich Ru·dolph [hahyn-rikh roo-dawlf] /ˈhaɪn rɪx ˈru dɔlf/, 1857–94, German physicist.
Related formsHertz·i·an [hurt-see-uh n, hairt-] /ˈhɜrt si ən, ˈhɛərt-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for hertz


noun plural hertz
  1. the derived SI unit of frequency; the frequency of a periodic phenomenon that has a periodic time of 1 second; 1 cycle per secondSymbol: Hz

Word Origin for hertz

C20: named after Heinrich Rudolph Hertz


  1. Gustav (ˈɡʊstaf). 1887–1975, German atomic physicist. He provided evidence for the quantum theory by his research with Franck on the effects produced by bombarding atoms with electrons: they shared the Nobel prize for physics (1925)
  2. Heinrich Rudolph (ˈhainrɪç ˈruːdɔlf). 1857–94, German physicist. He was the first to produce electromagnetic waves artificially
Derived FormsHertzian, adjective
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 hertz


unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second, 1928, named in reference to German physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hertz in Medicine


n. pl. hertz
  1. A unit of frequency equal to 1 cycle per second.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

hertz in Science


  1. The SI derived unit used to measure the frequency of vibrations and waves, such as sound waves and electromagnetic waves. One hertz is equal to one cycle per second. The hertz is named after German physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hertz in Culture



The international unit of frequency: one cycle per second. The abbreviation for hertz is Hz.


Household current (see also current) in the United States is sixty hertz.
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.