Meaning of HARMONIC in English


I. (ˈ)här|mänik, (ˈ)hȧ|-, -nēk adjective

or har·mon·i·cal -nə̇kəl

Etymology: harmonic from Latin harmonicus, from Greek harmonikos, from harmonia harmony + -ikos -ic; harmonical from Latin harmonic us + English -al

1. archaic : of or relating to music : musical

where the harmonic meetings take place — Charles Dickens

specifically : relating to the melody of ancient music as distinct from its rhythm

2. : of or relating to harmony as distinguished from melody or rhythm

subtleties of harmonic change and tonality — Ralph Hill


a. : of agreeable musical consonance : harmonious

harmonic chant

b. : pleasing to the ear : harmonized

great harmonic orchestral effects of the older verse — J.L.Lowes

4. : expressible in terms of sine or cosine functions — see harmonic progression

5. : of an integrated nature : congruous

a creative, harmonic , loving human being — M.F.A.Montagu

specifically : having the general proportions of the body in harmony with each other (as elongated face with elongated skull)

6. : of or relating to harmonics

size of the resonating cavity cannot be the only determinant of the harmonic response — Robert Donington

specifically : sounding an octave or more higher than another organ stop of similar length

harmonic flute

II.  ̷ ̷ˈ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ noun

( -s )


a. : one of a series of overtones or upper partials ; especially : one produced by a vibration frequency which is an integral multiple of the vibration rate producing the fundamental

the ear possesses the very odd characteristic of imagining the existence of the fundamental even when it is not present, if the harmonics are strong — Oliver Read

— compare node 5

b. : a flutelike tone produced on a stringed instrument (as violin or harp) by touching a vibrating string at a nodal point causing one of the vibrating sections to determine the higher pitch in the harmonic series in direct proportion to the vibration frequency of the vibrating segment — called also flageolet tone

2. : a component frequency of a harmonic motion (as of an electromagnetic wave) that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency

the second harmonic has a frequency that is two times that of the fundamental

if the current wave is analyzed mathematically, it is found to have a third harmonic about one-third the amplitude of the fundamental 60-cycle wave — B.F.Bailey & J.S.Gault

at the frequencies used for television signals, more so than on the broadcast bands, the second, third, and fourth harmonics of the local oscillator in a superheterodyne receiver are liable to interfere with other sections of the receiver — Television & Radar Encyc.

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