Meaning of MAGNITUDE in English


ˈmagnəˌtüd, ˈmaig-, -nə.ˌtyüd noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin magnitudo, from magnus great + -i- + -tudo -tude — more at much

1. obsolete : greatness of character or position : nobility



(1) : greatness of size or extent : vastness

cannot wage a war of such magnitude … without inaugurating a new epoch — A.N.Whitehead

the magnitude of his literary output — H.W.H.Knott

the magnitude of the shift away from centralized planning of all economic activity — Harry Schwartz

(2) : size 3a(1)

negative accelerations of any considerable magnitude in aircraft are seldom encountered — H.G.Armstrong

able to operate only over distances of very small magnitude — G.W.Gray b. 1886

(3) : quantity , number

the savings in amounts of metal … will be of dramatically significant magnitudes — American Fabrics

b. : volume , loudness

the magnitude of the total sound made … was astounding — William Beebe

3. : the importance, quality, or caliber of something

a seaside curiosity of the first magnitude — Charles Gordon

disappointing work by a writer of first magnitude — Richard Plant

this is no bad test of the stature, or rather the magnitude , of a poet — David Daiches

this court can be insensible neither to the magnitude nor delicacy of this question — John Marshall

4. : a number representing the intrinsic or apparent brightness of a celestial body on a logarithmic scale in which a difference of one unit corresponds to the multiplication or division of the brightness of light by 2.512+ and a difference of five units corresponds to the multiplication or division by 100

a star of magnitude 3.0 is approximately 2.512 times brighter than a star of magnitude 4.0

a star of magnitude 1.0 is 100 times brighter than one of magnitude 6.0

— compare absolute magnitude , apparent magnitude , visual magnitude

5. : a number assigned to a quantity by means of which the quantity may be compared with other quantities of the same class

6. : the amount of energy released at the source of an earthquake or indicated by the intensity of an earthquake at one place and usually represented by a number on an arbitrary scale

Synonyms: see size

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