• WordNet 3.6
    • adj alpha early testing stage of a software or hardware product "alpha version"
    • adj alpha first in order of importance "the alpha male in the group of chimpanzees","the alpha star in a constellation is the brightest or main star"
    • n alpha the 1st letter of the Greek alphabet
    • n alpha the beginning of a series or sequence "the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end"--Revelations"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The closest star to the sun, Alpha Centauri, is never visible in the sky north of about 30 degrees Northern Lattitude.
    • n Alpha The first letter in the Greek alphabet, answering to A, and hence used to denote the beginning.Formerly used also denote the chief; as, Plato was the alpha of the wits. "In am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n alpha The first letter in the Greek alphabet (A, α), answering to A.
    • n alpha The first; the beginning: as in the phrase “alpha and omega,” the beginning and the end, the first and the last, omega being the last letter of the Greek alphabet.
    • n alpha As a classifier: In astronomy, the chief star of a constellation. In chem., the first of two or more isomerous modifications of the same organic compound, as alpha-naphthol, in distinction from beta-naphthol.
    • n alpha In natural history, the first subspecies, etc.
    • n alpha [capitalized] The name given by Carl Neumann, the mathematical physicist, to a supposed body to which all motion, especially motion of rotation, is relative. It has been said that Newton originated this idea, but that is incorrect. Newton believed that space is a really existing thing, and he suggested that there might possibly be a body which is really in absolute rest relatively to real space. The conception of the body Alpha, which was originated by Neumann, arose, on the contrary, from a difficulty which the theory of Leibnitz (that space is not an existent thing, hut is merely an image embodying certain general laws of the relations between things) meets in the circumstance that, according to the accepted doctrine of Newton's three laws of motion, motion of rotation (as it is ascertained, for example, by Foucault's pendulum experiment) is absolute and not merely relative motion. Neumann, and others who accept Leibnitz's theory of the entire relativity of space, seek to explain rotation by supposing that there is a body Alpha, which is not indeed absolutely at rest, as Newton thought it possible that some body might be (since these persons are of opinion that absolute place and absolute motion are phrases without meaning), hut which is the body to which the motion spoken of in the three laws of motion ought to be understood to be relative. Ernst Mach undertakes to show that this body Alpha is really the universe as a whole, which virtually comes to saying that it is the starry heavens as a whole. The objection to this is that it makes objects the most remote from any given body the principal factors which determine the motions of that body. Now, according to that epistemological psychology which makes space an image embodying the laws of the relations of things, this image must be supposed to be so constituted as to make those things which principally affect one another appear to be near one another. According to Tait, there is no need of any body Alpha, since, so far as rotation and rectilinearity of motion are concerned, we have only to assume, as a definition, that rotation is relative to lines of force fixed within a body having no dynamic effects of rotation.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Alpha al′fa the first letter of the Greek alphabet: the first or beginning.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. alpha, Gr. 'a`lfa, from Heb. āleph, name of the first letter in the alphabet, also meaning ox,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. alpha—Heb. aleph, an ox, the name of the first letter of the Phœnician and Hebrew alphabet. See A.


In literature:

I am not one of these petty little women, to whom men are the alpha and omega!
"The German Classics, v. 20" by Various
They are the Alpha and Omega of deep, strong religious faith.
"Home Life of Great Authors" by Hattie Tyng Griswold
The Alpha test included 212 questions in all, and a correct answer to any question netted the subject one point.
"Psychology" by Robert S. Woodworth
Stepping outside on Naraka with the full power of Alpha and Beta Centauri beating down was like stepping into a river of fire.
"Narakan Rifles, About Face!" by Jan Smith
They're called alpha, beta, gamma, and neutrons.
"The Blue Ghost Mystery" by Harold Leland Goodwin
Alpha Centauri merely little star.
"Collector's Item" by Evelyn E. Smith
Q. W. X. W. V. U., and so, from Omega to Alpha.
"Ku Klux Klan" by J. C. Lester
"Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions" by T. W. Doane
Let us imagine he would believe it from Alpha to Omega; of what use would it be?
"St. Peter's Umbrella" by Kálmán Mikszáth
They'd cover the whole eastern seaboard of Alpha from pole to pole.
"To Choke an Ocean" by Jesse F. (Jesse Franklin) Bone

In poetry:

Q. Salvation-work is great and high,
Alas! what shall I do?
A. Christ as the Alpha hereof eye,
And the Omega too.
"The Believer's Principles : Chap. I." by Ralph Erskine
This prophet kind himself has set
To be my book and alphabet,
And ev'ry needful letter plain,
Alpha, Omega, and Amen.
"The Believer's Riddle; or, the Mystery of Faith" by Ralph Erskine
Victor sat in a corner
Making a woman of clay:
Saying; 'I am Alpha and Omega, I shall come
To judge the earth some day.'
"Victor" by W H Auden
Let's th' Eternal, go and see,
Who made the skies, the earth, the sea,
The ancient Alpha, source of light,
Become an Infant in our sight!
"Let Us Go To Bethlehem " by Rees Prichard
So small an I as an attention beggar.
The letter you will find me subscript to
Is neither alpha, eta, nor omega,
But upsilon which is the Greek for you.
"Iota Subscript" by Robert Frost
Christ is the Alpha, e'er the ages past —
Christ is th' Omega, which must always last —
Christ is salvation's source, as well as end —
Christ is our patron, and ne'er-failing friend!
"Christ Is All In All" by Rees Prichard

In news:

New Practice for Rapid Sequential Alpha Spectrometric Determination of Isotopes of Americium, Curium, Plutonium, and Uranium in Environmental Vegetation Samples.
However, Alpha and Omega couldn't find out what that name is because the Greeks stayed away from these Games en masse yesterday.
Sunstone Hotel Investors Larger Than S&P 500 Component Alpha Natural Resources.
The Alpha ST 212 and ST 320 bar feeders provide reliability, stability and ease of operation, the manufacturer says.
Land Sharks v Alpha Talon .
Highlights from The Opening of the pool play matchup between the Shane Morris led Land Sharks squad and the Tyrone Swoopes led Alpha Talon team.
Join Zeta Tau Alpha Fort Wayne Alumnae Chapter for our inaugural Holiday Marketplace.
UCF suspends Alpha Tau Omega fraternity amid hazing allegations.
President Fran Jones called the recent meeting of the Alpha Tau Chapter of West Virginia Alpha Delta Kappa to order.
Alpha Delta Kappa State President Crystal Baranowski and Ohio Valley District Chair Suzanne Davidson were special guests.
View full size The brothers of Alpha Tau Omega join the fight on cancer with Battle of the Buffalo to benefit Clearview Cancer Institute.
(Lambda Chi Alpha) Fraternity of USI is kicking off their 19th annual Teeter Totter A Thon today.
I tested the lens on the Sony Alpha NEX-F3.
Martin Griff / The Times Arc'teryx sales rep Ian Armstrong and the newfangled Alpha SV glove.
Neither does Alpha Meat Packing Co.

In science:

In addition, 12C rapidly captures protons once it is made, increasing the energy release from the triple alpha reaction.
Rotational Evolution During Type I X-Ray Bursts
FHM and Hanawa & Fujimoto (1982) estimated the increase in CNO abundance, concluding that the effect on the ignition temperature and density would be small because of the large temperature sensitivity of the triple alpha reaction.
Rotational Evolution During Type I X-Ray Bursts
The cycle results in the fusion of four hydrogen nuclei (1H, protons) into a single helium nucleus (4He, alpha particle), which supplies energy to the star in accordance with Einstein’s equation.
How the sun shines
See for example where description of generating truly random numbers from a radioactive alpha particle source is given; also described are the bias removal techniques.
Monte Carlo: Basics
The heating source for the warm component is Lyman alpha photons from young (OB) stars.
The SCUBA Local Universe Galaxy Survey II. 450 micron data - evidence for cold dust in bright IRAS Galaxies