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, 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:

  • Wave theory — Wave Wave, n. [From {Wave}, v.; not the same word as OE. wawe, waghe, a wave, which is akin to E. wag to move. [root]138. See {Wave}, v. i.] [1913 Webster] 1. An advancing ridge or swell on the surface of a liquid, as of the sea, resulting from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wave theory — n a theory in physics: light is transmitted from luminous bodies to the eye and other objects by an undulatory movement called also undulatory theory * * * the theory that light, heat, and electricity are transmitted through space in the form of… …   Medical dictionary

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

  • wave theory — bangų teorija statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. wave theory vok. Undulationstheorie, f; Wellenlehre, f; Wellentheorie, f rus. теория волн, f pranc. théorie des ondes, f …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • wave theory — 1. Also called undulatory theory. Physics. the theory that light is transmitted as a wave, similar to oscillations in magnetic and electric fields. Cf. corpuscular theory. 2. Historical Ling. a theory that accounts for shared features among… …   Universalium

  • wave theory — noun Physics, historical the theory that light is propagated by a wave motion imparted to the ether by the molecular vibrations of the radiant body …   English new terms dictionary

  • wave theory — noun Date: 1833 a theory in physics: light is transmitted from luminous bodies to the eye and other objects by an undulatory movement called also undulatory theory …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • wave theory — /ˈweɪv θɪəri/ (say wayv thearree) noun the theory, proposed by Christiaan Huygens, 1629–95, Dutch physicist, that light travels in waves …   Australian English dictionary

  • wave theory —    Radiation can be thought of as consisting of waves moving through space which transfer energy between non connecting systems. The sun gives off light and heat and causes sunburn. Each of these effects is caused by electromagnetic radiation of… …   Forensic science glossary

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

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”