[ in-ter-fuh-rom-i-ter ]

  1. Optics. a device that separates a beam of light into two ray beams, usually by means of reflection, and that brings the rays together to produce interference, used to measure wavelength, index of refraction, and astronomical distances.

  2. Astronomy. an instrument for measuring the angular separation of double stars or the diameter of giant stars by means of the interference phenomena of light emitted by these stars.

Origin of interferometer

First recorded in 1895–1900; interfere + -o- + -meter

Other words from interferometer

  • in·ter·fer·o·met·ric [in-ter-feer-uh-me-trik], /ˌɪn tərˌfɪər əˈmɛ trɪk/, adjective
  • in·ter·fer·o·met·ri·cal·ly, adverb
  • in·ter·fer·om·e·try, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use interferometer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for interferometer


/ (ˌɪntəfəˈrɒmɪtə) /

  1. physics any acoustic, optical, or microwave instrument that uses interference patterns or fringes to make accurate measurements of wavelength, wave velocity, distance, etc

  2. astronomy a radio or optical array consisting of two or more telescopes separated by a known distance and connected so that the radiation from a source in space undergoes interference, enabling the source to be imaged or the position of the source to be accurately determined

Derived forms of interferometer

  • interferometric (ˌɪntəˌfɛrəˈmɛtrɪk), adjective
  • interferometrically, adverb
  • interferometry, noun

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

Scientific definitions for interferometer


[ ĭn′tər-fə-rŏmĭ-tər ]

  1. Any of several optical, acoustic, or radio frequency instruments that use interference phenomena between a reference wave and an experimental wave or between two parts of an experimental wave to determine wavelengths and wave velocities, measure very small distances and thicknesses, and calculate indices of refraction.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.