Also called undulatory theory. Physics. the theory that light is transmitted as a wave, similar to oscillations in magnetic and electric fields.Compare corpuscular theory.
Historical Linguistics. a theory that accounts for shared features among languages or dialects by identifying these features as innovations that spread from their points of origin to the speech of contiguous areas.
Compare family-tree theory.
Origin of wave theory
First recorded in 1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for wave theory
Kepler's laws were the result of indefatigable guessing, and so, in a somewhat different sense, was the wave-theory of light.The Unseen World and Other Essays|John Fiske
Miss Nightingale, however, did not allow herself to be tempted into inactivity by this wave-theory.The Life of Florence Nightingale vol. 2 of 2|Edward Tyas Cook
British Dictionary definitions for wave theory
the theory proposed by Huygens that light is transmitted by waves
any theory that light or other radiation is transmitted as wavesSee electromagnetic wave
Compare corpuscular theory
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