a wave in which the direction of displacement is the same as the direction of propagation, as a sound wave.
Why Are We Calling Everything A “Wave”?Why have so many waves found their way into our cultural lexicon in recent years? In this article, the first in the column Mincing Metaphors, we unpack this oceanic metaphor to better understand what it means and why it’s proving so useful right now.
Compare transverse wave.
Origin of longitudinal wave
First recorded in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
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
Science 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.