See more synonyms for shortwave on
  1. Electricity. a radio wave shorter than that used in AM broadcasting, corresponding to frequencies of over 1600 kilohertz: used for long-distance reception or transmission.
  2. shortwave radio.
  3. Physics. a wave of electromagnetic radiation equal in length to, or shorter than, the wavelength of visible light.
  1. of, relating to, or using shortwaves.
verb (used with or without object), short·waved, short·wav·ing.
  1. to transmit by shortwaves.

Origin of shortwave

First recorded in 1900–05; short + wave Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shortwave

Historical Examples of shortwave

  • Whenever the shortwave radio blared, she listened attentively.

    Swamp Island

    Mildred A. Wirt

  • Radio Tirana is the largest, with four mediumwave transmitters and forty-one shortwave transmitters.

  • All but eight of the transmitters are shortwave, which is indicative of the emphasis placed upon transmitting propaganda abroad.

  • Shortwave is used for domestic programs in cases where the mountainous topography creates an obstacle to the mediumwaves.

  • Radio Kukes and Radio Shkoder each have one mediumwave and one shortwave transmitter.

shortwave in Science


  1. A radio wave with a frequency between 5.9 megahertz and 26.1 megahertz. Shortwaves broadcast from the Earth's surface are reflected by the upper atmosphere and can travel great distances around the planet. The shortwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum is used for amateur radio communications.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.