- an array of entities, as light waves or particles, ordered in accordance with the magnitudes of a common physical property, as wavelength or mass: often the band of colors produced when sunlight is passed through a prism, comprising red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
- this band or series of colors together with extensions at the ends that are not visible to the eye, but that can be studied by means of photography, heat effects, etc., and that are produced by the dispersion of radiant energy other than ordinary light rays.Compare band spectrum, electromagnetic spectrum, mass spectrum.
- a broad range of varied but related ideas or objects, the individual features of which tend to overlap so as to form a continuous series or sequence: the spectrum of political beliefs.
Origin of spectrum
Related Words for spectrumscope, gamut, sphere, range, continuum, rainbow, scale, span, sweep, field, extent, compass, series, colors, distribution, sequence
Examples from the Web for spectrum
Contemporary Examples of spectrum
On the other end of the spectrum, there lies an artist like Lena Dunham, who engages in a flaunting of the flawed self.Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination
December 26, 2014
Overall, Paris Magnum reaches both too widely and too thinly in trying to convey a sense of spectrum.A History of Paris in 150 Photographs
December 14, 2014
Today, Sunday, the cast will perform a softened, “autism-friendly” version of the production for those on the spectrum.The Brit Who Stormed Broadway
December 7, 2014
On the opposite end of the spectrum are two other standout works, which depict Mary as a loving, nurturing mother.The Virgin Mary Lookbook
December 7, 2014
The new term denotes a spectrum of problem drinking that can range from mild to moderate to severe.Americans Drink Too Much, But We’re Not All Alcoholics
November 25, 2014
Historical Examples of spectrum
Human vision, as he knew, utilizes only a tiny fraction of the spectrum.Salvage in Space
John Stewart Williamson
Overloaded, the bulges' screens flared through the spectrum and failed.Masters of Space
Edward Elmer Smith
For two of the stars the spectrum is for the present unknown.Lectures on Stellar Statistics
Carl Vilhelm Ludvig Charlier
Each shade of colour has its definite position in the spectrum.The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4)
J. Arthur Thomson
It may be asked, What is the cause of the various colours in the spectrum?Aether and Gravitation
William George Hooper
- the distribution of colours produced when white light is dispersed by a prism or diffraction grating. There is a continuous change in wavelength from red, the longest wavelength, to violet, the shortest. Seven colours are usually distinguished: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red
- the whole range of electromagnetic radiation with respect to its wavelength or frequency
- any particular distribution of electromagnetic radiation often showing lines or bands characteristic of the substance emitting the radiation or absorbing itSee also absorption spectrum, emission spectrum
- any similar distribution or record of the energies, velocities, masses, etc, of atoms, ions, electrons, etca mass spectrum
- any range or scale, as of capabilities, emotions, or moods
- another name for an afterimage
Word Origin for spectrum
Word Origin and History for spectrum
1610s, "apparition, specter," from Latin spectrum "appearance, image, apparition," from specere "to look at, view" (see scope (n.1)). Meaning "band of colors formed from a beam of light" first recorded 1670s.
- The distribution of a characteristic of a physical system or phenomenon, especially the distribution of energy emitted by a radiant source arranged in order of wavelengths.
- The color image presented when white light is resolved into its constituent colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
- The plot of intensity as opposed to wavelength of light emitted or absorbed by a substance, usually characteristic of the substance and used in qualitative and quantitative analysis.
- The distribution of atomic or subatomic particles in a system, as in a magnetically resolved molecular beam, arranged in order of masses.
- The group of pathogenic organisms against which an antibiotic or other antibacterial agent is effective.
- A range over which some measurable property of a physical phenomenon, such as the frequency of sound or electromagnetic radiation, or the mass of specific kinds of particles, can vary. For example, the spectrum of visible light is the range of electromagnetic radiation with frequencies between between 4.7 X 1014 and 7.5 X 1014 hertz.
- The observed distribution of a phenomenon across a range of measurement. See more at atomic spectrum spectroscopy.