Meaning of ALPHA in English


I. ˈalfə, ˈau̇fə noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin, from Greek, from a Phoenician word akin to Hebrew āleph, literally, ox

1. : the first letter of the Greek alphabet — symbol Αor α — see alphabet table

2. : the first (as in sequence, order, classification) : beginning

the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end — Revelations 22:13 (Revised Standard Version)

— compare omega

3. : an alpha particle or alpha ray

II. adjective

or α- “

1. : of or relating to one of two or more closely related chemical substances


— used somewhat arbitrarily to specify ordinal relationship or to specify a particular physical form, especially an allotropic modification (as in α-iron), or an isomeric or sometimes polymeric or stereoisomeric form (as in α- d -glucose); abbreviation sometimes a-

2. : first in position from or closest in the structure of an organic molecule to a particular group or atom or having a structure characterized by such a position

the alpha positions of furan

α-amino acids


3. : producing green pigment when grown on blood media — used of certain hemolytic streptococci

4. : first in order of brightness — used of a star in a constellation

III. noun

1. : alpha wave

2. : an alpha individual (as in a wolf pack)

IV. adjective

: socially dominant especially in a group of animals

challenging the alpha wolf in their pack — Suzanne Core

V. ˈalfə, ˈau̇fə adjective

Etymology: by shortening

: alphabetic

an alpha sort

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.