a wave in which the direction of displacement is the same as the direction of propagation, as a sound wave.
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Compare transverse wave.
Origin of longitudinal wave
First recorded in 1930–35
Words nearby longitudinal wave
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for longitudinal wave
a wave that is propagated in the same direction as the displacement of the transmitting mediumCompare transverse wave
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 longitudinal wave
A wave that oscillates back and forth on an axis that is the same as the axis along which the wave propagates. Sound waves are longitudinal waves, since the air molecules are displaced forward and backward on the same axis along which the sound travels. Compare transverse wave. See more at wave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.