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noun, plural sym·me·tries.
  1. the correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.
  2. the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion.
  3. beauty based on or characterized by such excellence of proportion.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. a geometrical or other regularity that is possessed by a mathematical object and is characterized by the operations that leave the object invariant: A circle has rotational symmetry and reflection symmetry.
    2. a rotation or translation of a plane figure that leaves the figure unchanged although its position may be altered.
  5. Physics. a property of a physical system that is unaffected by certain mathematical transformations as, for example, the work done by gravity on an object, which is not affected by any change in the position from which the potential energy of the object is measured.
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Origin of symmetry

1535–45; < Latin symmetria < Greek symmetría commensurateness. See sym-, -metry
Related formsan·ti·sym·me·try, adjective, nounnon·sym·me·try, noun, plural non·sym·me·tries.

Synonyms for symmetry

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1. consonance, concord, correspondence. Symmetry, balance, proportion, harmony are terms used, particularly in the arts, to denote qualities based upon a correspondence or agreement, usually pleasing, among the parts of a whole. Symmetry implies either a quantitative equality of parts ( the perfect symmetry of pairs of matched columns ) or a unified system of subordinate parts: the symmetry of a well-ordered musical composition. Balance implies equality of parts, often as a means of emphasis: Balance in sentences may emphasize the contrast in ideas. Proportion depends less upon equality of parts than upon that agreement among them that is determined by their relation to a whole: The dimensions of the room gave a feeling of right proportion. Harmony, a technical term in music, may also suggest the pleasing quality that arises from a just ordering of parts in other forms of artistic composition: harmony of line, color, mass, phrase, ideas.

Antonyms for symmetry

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for symmetry


noun plural -tries
  1. similarity, correspondence, or balance among systems or parts of a system
  2. maths an exact correspondence in position or form about a given point, line, or planeSee symmetrical (def. 2)
  3. beauty or harmony of form based on a proportionate arrangement of parts
  4. physics the independence of a property with respect to direction; isotropy
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Word Origin for symmetry

C16: from Latin symmetria, from Greek summetria proportion, from syn- + metron measure
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

Word Origin and History for symmetry


1560s, "relation of parts, proportion," from Latin symmetria, from Greek symmetria "agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement," from symmetros "having a common measure, even, proportionate," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + metron "meter" (see meter (n.2)). Meaning "harmonic arrangement of parts" first recorded 1590s. Symmetrophobia is from 1809, supposed to be evident in Egyptian temples and Japanese art.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

symmetry in Medicine


  1. Exact correspondence of form and constituent configuration on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane or about a center or an axis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

symmetry in Science


  1. An exact matching of form and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a boundary, such as a plane or line, or around a central point or axis.
  2. Physics See invariance.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

symmetry in Culture


In geometry, the equivalence, point for point, of a figure on opposite sides of a point, line, or plane.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.