Definitions for refractionrɪˈfræk ʃən

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word refraction

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

re•frac•tionrɪˈfræk ʃən(n.)

  1. the change of direction of a ray of light, sound, heat, or the like, in passing obliquely from one medium into another in which its wave velocity is different.

    Category: Optics, Physics

  2. the ability of the eye to refract light that enters it so as to form an image on the retina. the determining of the refractive condition of the eye.

    Category: Ophthalmology

  3. the amount, in angular measure, by which the altitude of a celestial body is increased by the refraction of its light in the earth's atmosphere.

    Category: Astronomy

Origin of refraction:

1570–80; < LL refrāctiō, calque of Gk anáklasis. See refract , -tion

Princeton's WordNet

  1. refraction(noun)

    the change in direction of a propagating wave (light or sound) when passing from one medium to another

  2. deflection, deflexion, refraction(noun)

    the amount by which a propagating wave is bent


  1. refraction(Noun)

    The turning or bending of any wave, such as a light or sound wave, when it passes from one medium into another of different optical density.

  2. refraction(Noun)

    The degree to which a metal or compound can withstand heat

Webster Dictionary

  1. Refraction(noun)

    the act of refracting, or the state of being refracted

  2. Refraction(noun)

    the change in the direction of ray of light, heat, or the like, when it enters obliquely a medium of a different density from that through which it has previously moved

  3. Refraction(noun)

    the change in the direction of a ray of light, and, consequently, in the apparent position of a heavenly body from which it emanates, arising from its passage through the earth's atmosphere; -- hence distinguished as atmospheric refraction, or astronomical refraction

  4. Refraction(noun)

    the correction which is to be deducted from the apparent altitude of a heavenly body on account of atmospheric refraction, in order to obtain the true altitude


  1. Refraction

    Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its optical medium. Refraction is essentially a surface phenomenon. The phenomenon is mainly in governance to the law of conservation of energy and momentum. Due to change of medium, the phase velocity of the wave is changed but its frequency remains constant. This is most commonly observed when a wave passes from one medium to another at any angle other than 90° or 0°. Refraction of light is the most commonly observed phenomenon, but any type of wave can refract when it interacts with a medium, for example when sound waves pass from one medium into another or when water waves move into water of a different depth. Refraction is described by Snell's law, which states that for a given pair of media and a wave with a single frequency, the ratio of the sines of the angle of incidence θ1 and angle of refraction θ2 is equivalent to the ratio of phase velocities in the two media, or equivalently, to the opposite ratio of the indices of refraction: In general, the incident wave is partially refracted and partially reflected; the details of this behavior are described by the Fresnel equations.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Refraction

    . Light travels in straight lines; but when a ray travelling through one medium passes obliquely into another of either greater or less density it is bent at the point of incidence. This bending or breaking is called refraction. The apparent bend in a stick set sloping in a sheet of water is due to this phenomenon, as are also many mirages and other optical illusions.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. refraction

    The process by which the direction of a wave is changed when moving into shallow water at an angle to the bathymetric contours. The crest of the wave advancing in shallower water moves more slowly than the crest still advancing in deeper water, causing the wave crest to bend toward alignment with the underwater contours.

Anagrams of refraction

  1. for certain


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