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See more synonyms for radiometer on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also called Crookes radiometer. an instrument for demonstrating the transformation of radiant energy into mechanical work, consisting of an exhausted glass vessel containing vanes that revolve about an axis when exposed to light.
  2. an instrument for detecting and measuring small amounts of radiant energy.
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Origin of radiometer

First recorded in 1870–75; radio- + -meter
Related formsra·di·o·met·ric [rey-dee-oh-me-trik] /ˌreɪ di oʊˈmɛ trɪk/, adjectivera·di·om·e·try, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for radiometer

Historical Examples

  • Count Bathyani recently took up a radiometer to a height of about a mile.

    The Galaxy, April, 1877


  • The spectroscope and the radiometer are more wonderful than any ‘supernatural’ thing yet heard of.

    British Goblins

    Wirt Sikes

  • The latest use to which the radiometer has been put was to test the viscosity of gases at decreasing pressures.

    The Galaxy


  • The first endeavor led to the construction of the radiometer.

  • Instead of using the fan in this experiment, we may use the "electric" radiometer with similar effect.

British Dictionary definitions for radiometer


  1. any instrument for the detection or measurement of radiant energy
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Derived Formsradiometric (ˌreɪdɪəʊˈmɛtrɪk), adjectiveradiometry, 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

radiometer in Medicine


  1. A device that measures the intensity of radiant energy, consisting of a partially evacuated glass bulb containing lightweight vertical vanes, each blackened on one side, suspended radially about a central vertical axis to permit their revolution about the axis as a result of incident radiation.
  2. An instrument that detects electromagnetic radiation.
  3. A device for determining the penetrative power of x-rays.
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Related formsra′di•ome•try (-trē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

radiometer in Science


  1. A device used to detect or measure radiation. Radiometers generally consist of a glass bulb containing a rarefied gas in which four diamond-shaped paddles are mounted on a central axis. Each paddle is black on one side and silvery on the other. When radiation such as sunlight strikes them, the black side absorbs radiation and the silvery side reflects it, resulting in a temperature difference between the two sides and causing motion of gas molecules around the edges of the paddles. This motion of the surrounding gas molecules causes the paddles to spin. Precision radiometers, which use a complete vacuum rather than a gas, exploit the difference in radiation pressure on either side of the paddles to cause them to spin. Radiometers measure the intensity of radiation by measuring the rate of spin of the paddles. Also called light mill
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.