• WordNet 3.6
    • n magnitude the property of relative size or extent (whether large or small) "they tried to predict the magnitude of the explosion","about the magnitude of a small pea"
    • n magnitude relative importance "a problem of the first magnitude"
    • n magnitude a number assigned to the ratio of two quantities; two quantities are of the same order of magnitude if one is less than 10 times as large as the other; the number of magnitudes that the quantities differ is specified to within a power of 10
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Magnitude Anything of which greater or less can be predicated, as time, weight, force, and the like.
    • Magnitude Extent of dimensions; size; -- applied to things that have length, breadth, and thickness. "Conceive those particles of bodies to be so disposed amongst themselves, that the intervals of empty spaces between them may be equal in magnitude to them all."
    • Magnitude Greatness, in reference to influence or effect; importance; as, an affair of magnitude . "The magnitude of his designs."
    • Magnitude Greatness; grandeur. "With plain, heroic magnitude of mind."
    • Magnitude (Astron) See magnitude of a star, below.
    • Magnitude (Geom) That which has one or more of the three dimensions, length, breadth, and thickness.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n magnitude Greatness; vastness, whether in a physical or a moral sense; grandeur.
    • n magnitude Largeness of relation or significance; importance; consequence: as, in affairs of magnitude disdain not to take counsel.
    • n magnitude Size, or the property of having size; the extended quantity of a line, surface, or solid; length, area, or volume.
    • n magnitude Any kind of continuous quantity which is comparable with extended quantity. In this sense we speak of the magnitude of a velocity, force, acceleration, or other vector quantity; but we do not properly speak of a magnitude of heat, energy, temperature, sound, etc. The use of the word as a synonym of quantity, as in the following passage, is to be deprecated.
    • n magnitude In astronomy, the brightness of a star expressed according to the numerical system used by astronomers for that purpose. In this sense magnitude translates Greek μέγεθος, used in the same sense in the Almagest, the expression being due to the fact that bright stars, by an effect of irradiation, look larger than faint ones. The brightest stars are said to be of the first magnitude, while those of the sixth magnitude are hardly noticed by casual observers in ordinary states of the sky. Since the brightness of stars has been measured photometrically, the interval between successive magnitudes has been defined by a constant ratio of brightness, which in the so-called absolute scale, now generally used, is 5√100, or 2.51.
    • n magnitude In ancient prosody, the length of a syllable, foot, colon, or meter, expressed in terms of the metrical unit (primary time, semeion, or mora): as, a foot of trisemic magnitude; a colon of icosasemic magnitude.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Magnitude mag′ni-tūd greatness: size: extent: importance.
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  • Thomas Troward
    Thomas Troward
    “It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken into consideration.”
  • Ovid
    “People are slow to claim confidence in undertakings of magnitude.”
  • John Updike
    “Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.”
  • Marianne Moore
    Marianne Moore
    “War is pillage versus resistance and if illusions of magnitude could be transmuted into ideals of magnanimity, peace might be realized.”
  • Raymond Holliwell
    Raymond Holliwell
    “Understanding reduces the greatest to simplicity, and lack of its causes the least to take on the magnitude.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. magnitudo, from magnus, great. See Master, and cf. Maxim
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. magnitudomagnus.


In literature:

Should a storm of any magnitude pour its waters through the gorge in which I then was, I felt my position would be perilous in the extreme.
"Seven and Nine years Among the Camanches and Apaches" by Edwin Eastman
We are accustomed to regard gravitation as a force of stupendous magnitude.
"The Story of the Heavens" by Robert Stawell Ball
Something of so much greater magnitude had occurred that he was too perturbed to cherish his feud for the present.
"Brand Blotters" by William MacLeod Raine
The entire mountain in all its inspiring detail lay at his feet, a wonder spectacle of first magnitude.
"The Book of the National Parks" by Robert Sterling Yard
Eleven water-falls of greater or less magnitude come tumbling into the valley, adding to the picturesqueness of the scene.
"Foot-prints of Travel" by Maturin M. Ballou
Nor is the havoc wrought by the larger projectiles in proportion to their magnitude.
"Sword and Pen" by John Algernon Owens
The limits of real stellar magnitude are then set very widely apart.
"A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century" by Agnes M. (Agnes Mary) Clerke
Beyond these, were high forests and rich swamps, where canes and cypress-trees grew of astonishing magnitude.
"Travels in North America, From Modern Writers" by William Bingley
The magnitude of this peril united all the revolutionary parties for their common defense.
"Madame Roland, Makers of History" by John S. C. Abbott
The twenty brightest stars in the sky are usually classed in the first magnitude.
"Astronomy of To-day" by Cecil G. Dolmage

In poetry:

O Night where Time and Sorrow cease!
Eternal magnitude of dark
Wherein Aldebaran drifts a spark,
And Sirius is hushed to peace!
"The Testimony of the Suns" by George Sterling
A Solon ponders till his Years are great
On Sway of Power and Magnitude of State,
Then in his Age he leaves the Questions to
The Wisdom of the Sweet Girl Graduate.
"The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám Jr." by Wallace Irwin
No. The vast colossal statue nor inspires
Respect nor fear. Mere magnitude of form,
Without proportioned intellect and valour,
Strikes not my soul with reverence or with awe.
"David And Goliath. A Sacred Drama" by Hannah More

In news:

The epicenter of the magnitude 4.7 earthquake was recorded near Tangshan , a city north of Beijing that in 1976 suffered one of the world's worst earthquake disasters.
Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake was so powerful that it actually widened Japan.
Mobile data is being consumed rapidly and in greater magnitudes.
PORTLAND, Ore.—A 4.2-magnitude earthquake has struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon and California.
It was later revised to magnitude 4.1.
The magnitude 3.3 temblor hit near Guadalupe Victoria, south of Mexicali.
People on Market Street in Philadelphia look up at a window that cracked during the magnitude 5.8 earthquake Tuesday afternoon.
Magnitude 7.4 temblor rocks nation's South Island.
A powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck much of New Zealand's South Island early Saturday.
In 24 All-Star Readers on the Words That Rock Their Worlds, Demi Moore notes that Tennyson 's poem "begs a question of such enormous magnitude that you could spend a lifetime seeking the answer.".
Pressure transducers rely on mechanical deflection or stress on a member to sense the magnitude of the mechanical energy.
An earthquake measuring a magnitude-3.3 hit early Sunday morning about 12 miles southwest of Twentynine Palms.
On Sept 1, 1923, a 7.9-magnitude temblor struck Tokyo.
When President Obama first took office, no one could have predicted the magnitude of crises he would have to face from the moment he stepped into office until now.
Many Americans believed that an attack of this magnitude was virtually impossible on US soil.

In science:

The magnitude of the fluctuations of the nonzeromomentum modes is of order 1/(k2 + M 2 a ), whereas the magnitude of the fluctuations of the zero-momentum modes is of order 1/M 2 a .
Random Matrix Theory and Chiral Symmetry in QCD
We use the same K -corrections as in SBF-I: 1.9z for V magnitudes and 1.0z for I magnitudes.
A Synthesis of Data from Fundamental Plane and Surface Brightness Fluctuation Surveys
The arrow shows the reddening vector for E(B−V) = 2 mag, and b) The IR C star sequence of the Milky Way, which shares a color-magnitude relation with that of the LMC and extends more than 2 magnitudes redder.
An Upper Limit to the Age of the Galactic Bar
We used K ′ magnitudes measured in 2′′ diameter apertures to determine colors, and we used isophotal magnitudes to 2% of the peak surface brightness for total magnitudes.
The Submillimeter Properties of Extremely Red Objects
Fig. 3.— Surface density per square degree per magnitude versus lensing-corrected isophotal K ′ magnitude for the combined K ′ samples in the A370, A851, and A2390 fields with I − K ′ > 4 (filled squares).
The Submillimeter Properties of Extremely Red Objects