magnitude[mag′nə to̵̅o̅d′, -tyo̵̅o̅d′]
The great magnitude of the Grand Canyon.
- An example of magnitude is the depth of the Grand Canyon.
- An example of magnitude is the size of the problem of world hunger.
Magnitude is defined as large in size or very important.
- greatness; specif.,
- of size
- of extent
- of importance or influence
- Obsolete of character
- size or measurable quantity: the magnitude of a velocity
- loudness (of sound)
- importance or influence
- Astron. a number representing the apparent brightness of a celestial body: it is part of an unlimited arbitrary scale that ranges from the brightest object, the sun, at -26.72 to the faintest visible object at c. 26: only 22 stars are brighter than 1.5 (first magnitude), while stars c. 6 (sixth magnitude) are barely visible to the naked eye: each increase of one magnitude equals 2.512 times as much brightness (a magnitude increase of 5 is 100 times brighter)
- Geol. a measure of the amount of energy released by an earthquake
- Math. a number given to a quantity for purposes of comparison with other quantities of the same class
Origin of magnitudeClassical Latin magnitudo ; from magnus, great: see magni-
of the first magnitude
of the greatest importance
- a. Greatness of rank or position: “such duties as were expected of a landowner of his magnitude” (Anthony Powell).b. Greatness in size or extent: The magnitude of the flood was impossible to comprehend.c. Greatness in significance or influence: was shocked by the magnitude of the crisis.
- Astronomy a. The brightness of a celestial body on a numerical scale for which brighter objects have smaller values. Differences in magnitude are based on a logarithmic scale that matches the response of the human eye to differences in brightness so that a decrease of one magnitude represents an increase in apparent brightness by a factor of 2.512. Also called apparent magnitude.b. A unit on such a scale of brightness.
- Mathematics a. A number assigned to a quantity so that it may be compared with other quantities.b. A property that can be described by a real number, such as the volume of a sphere or the length of a vector.
- Geology A measure of the amount of energy released by an earthquake, as indicated on the Richter scale.
Origin of magnitudeMiddle English, from Old French, size, from Latin magnitūdō, greatness, size, from magnus, great; see meg- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural magnitudes)
- (uncountable, countable) The absolute or relative size, extent or importance of something.
- (countable) An order of magnitude.
- (mathematics) A number, assigned to something, such that it may be compared to others numerically
- (mathematics) Of a vector, the norm, most commonly, the two-norm.
- (astronomy) The apparent brightness of a star (on a negative, logarithmic scale); apparent magnitude
- (seismology) A measure of the energy released by an earthquake (e.g. on the Richter scale).
From Latin magnitÅ«dÅ (“greatness, size"); magni- +"Ž -itude