Prism
Prism Prism (pr[i^]z'm), n. [L. prisma, Gr. pri`sma, fr. pri`zein, pri`ein, to saw: cf. F. prisme.] 1. (Geom.) A solid whose bases or ends are any similar, equal, and parallel plane figures, and whose sides are parallelograms. [1913 Webster]

Note: Prisms of different forms are often named from the figure of their bases; as, a triangular prism, a quadrangular prism, a rhombic prism, etc. [1913 Webster]

2. (Opt.) A transparent body, with usually three rectangular plane faces or sides, and two equal and parallel triangular ends or bases; -- used in experiments on refraction, dispersion, etc. [1913 Webster]

3. (Crystallog.) A form the planes of which are parallel to the vertical axis. See {Form}, n., 13. [1913 Webster]

{Achromatic prism} (Opt.), a prism composed usually of two prisms of different transparent substances which have unequal dispersive powers, as two different kinds of glass, especially flint glass and crown glass, the difference of dispersive power being compensated by giving them different refracting angles, so that, when placed together so as to have opposite relative positions, a ray of light passed through them is refracted or bent into a new position, but is free from color.

{Nicol's prism}, {Nicol prism}. [So called from Wm. Nicol, of Edinburgh, who first proposed it.] (Opt.) An instrument for experiments in polarization, consisting of a rhomb of Iceland spar, which has been bisected obliquely at a certain angle, and the two parts again joined with transparent cement, so that the ordinary image produced by double refraction is thrown out of the field by total reflection from the internal cemented surface, and the extraordinary, or polarized, image alone is transmitted. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • prism — [ prızəm ] noun count any solid object that has a regular shape with flat sides and straight edges, especially an object with some sides shaped like a TRIANGLE a. a glass object in the shape of a prism, used for dividing light into its different… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • prism — 1560s, a type of solid figure, from L.L. prisma (Martianus Capella), from Gk. prisma (Euclid), lit. something sawed, from prizein to saw. Meaning in optics is first attested 1610s …   Etymology dictionary

  • prism — ► NOUN 1) a piece of glass or other transparent material of regular shape, used to separate white light into a spectrum of colours. 2) Geometry a solid geometric figure whose two ends are similar, equal, and parallel rectilinear figures, and… …   English terms dictionary

  • prism — [priz′əm] n. [LL prisma < Gr, lit., something sawed < prizein, to saw < priein, to saw, bite; ? akin to Alb prish, (I) destroy, break] 1. Geom. a solid figure whose ends are parallel, polygonal, and equal in size and shape, and whose… …   English World dictionary

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  • prism — bi·prism; hemi·prism; mac·ro·prism; pen·ta·prism; prism; mi·cro·prism; …   English syllables

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