Undulatory theory
Undulatory Un"du*la*to*ry (?; 277), a. [Cf. F. ondulatoire.] Moving in the manner of undulations, or waves; resembling the motion of waves, which successively rise or swell rise or swell and fall; pertaining to a propagated alternating motion, similar to that of waves. [1913 Webster]

{Undulatory theory}, or {Wave theory} (of light) (Opt.), that theory which regards the various phenomena of light as due to undulations in an ethereal medium, propagated from the radiant with immense, but measurable, velocities, and producing different impressions on the retina according to their amplitude and frequency, the sensation of brightness depending on the former, that of color on the latter. The undulations are supposed to take place, not in the direction of propagation, as in the air waves constituting sound, but transversely, and the various phenomena of refraction, polarization, interference, etc., are attributable to the different affections of these undulations in different circumstances of propagation. It is computed that the frequency of the undulations corresponding to the several colors of the spectrum ranges from 458 millions of millions per second for the extreme red ray, to 727 millions of millions for the extreme violet, and their lengths for the same colors, from the thirty-eight thousandth to the sixty thousandth part of an inch. The theory of ethereal undulations is applicable not only to the phenomena of light, but also to those of heat. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • undulatory theory — noun (physics) the theory that light is transmitted as waves • Syn: ↑wave theory, ↑wave theory of light • Ant: ↑corpuscular theory of light (for: ↑wave theory of light), ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • undulatory theory — banginė teorija statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. undulation theory; undulatory theory vok. Undulationstheorie, f; Wellentheorie, f rus. волновая теория, f pranc. théorie ondulatoire, f …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • undulatory theory — un·du·la·to·ry theory ən jə lə .tōr ē , ən d(y)ə lə , .tȯr ē n WAVE THEORY * * * wave t …   Medical dictionary

  • undulatory theory — noun Date: circa 1828 wave theory …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • undulatory theory — Physics. See wave theory (def. 1). [1795 1805] * * * …   Universalium

  • UNDULATORY THEORY —    the theory that light is due to vibrations or undulations in the ether as the medium through which it is transmitted from its source in a luminous body …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • undulatory theory of light — banginė šviesos teorija statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. undulatory theory of light; wave theory of light vok. Wellentheorie des Lichtes, f rus. волновая теория света, f pranc. théorie ondulatoire de la lumière, f …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • Undulatory — Un du*la*to*ry (?; 277), a. [Cf. F. ondulatoire.] Moving in the manner of undulations, or waves; resembling the motion of waves, which successively rise or swell rise or swell and fall; pertaining to a propagated alternating motion, similar to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Theory of Colours — Infobox Book name = Theory of Colours title orig = Zur Farbenlehre translator = Charles Eastlake [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi m0422/is 2 82/ai 64573524/pg 6] image caption = Light spectrum, from Theory of Colours – Goethe observed that… …   Wikipedia

  • Wave theory — Undulatory Un du*la*to*ry (?; 277), a. [Cf. F. ondulatoire.] Moving in the manner of undulations, or waves; resembling the motion of waves, which successively rise or swell rise or swell and fall; pertaining to a propagated alternating motion,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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