or wave length

[weyv-lengkth, -length, -lenth]


Physics. the distance, measured in the direction of propagation of a wave, between two successive points in the wave that are characterized by the same phase of oscillation.


    on the same wavelength, in sympathy or rapport: We seemed to be on the same wavelength from the moment we met.

Origin of wavelength

First recorded in 1855–60; wave + length
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wavelength

Contemporary Examples of wavelength

Historical Examples of wavelength

  • Von Schlichten; what's the wavelength of the officer in command at the equipment-park?

    Ullr Uprising

    Henry Beam Piper

  • This occurs where one fork has gained half a wavelength upon the other.

  • It is practically a beam radio set, projecting a beam of a wavelength that alone would tend to produce invisibility.

    The Black Star Passes

    John W Campbell

  • The average length of jumps during saltation corresponds to the wavelength, or distance between adjacent crests, of the ripples.


    A. S. Walker

  • The voice repeated, several times, the wavelength, and somebody got an auxiliary screen tuned in.

    Uller Uprising

    Henry Beam Piper, John D. Clark and John F. Carr

British Dictionary definitions for wavelength



the distance, measured in the direction of propagation, between two points of the same phase in consecutive cycles of a waveSymbol: λ
the wavelength of the carrier wave used by a particular broadcasting station
on someone's wavelength or on the same wavelength informal having similar views, feelings, or thoughts (as someone else)
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 wavelength

1850, "distance between peaks of a wave," from wave (n.) + length. Originally of spectra; radio sense is attested by 1925. Figurative sense of "mental harmony" is recorded from 1927, on analogy of radio waves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wavelength in Medicine


[wāvlĕngkth′, -lĕngth′]


The distance between one peak or crest of a wave of light, heat, or other energy and the next corresponding peak or crest.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

wavelength in Science



The distance between one peak or crest of a wave and the next peak or crest. It is equal to the speed of the wave divided by its frequency, and to the speed of a wave times its period.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

wavelength in Culture


The distance between crests (or troughs) of a wave.

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.