What does prism mean?

Definitions for prism
ˈprɪz əmprism

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word prism.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. prismnoun

    a polyhedron with two congruent and parallel faces (the bases) and whose lateral faces are parallelograms

  2. prism, optical prismnoun

    optical device having a triangular shape and made of glass or quartz; used to deviate a beam or invert an image


  1. prismnoun

    A polyhedron with parallel ends of the same size and shape, the other faces being parallelogram-shaped sides.

  2. prismnoun

    A transparent block in the shape of a prism (typically with triangular ends), used to split or reflect light.

  3. prismnoun

    A crystal in which the faces are parallel to the vertical axis.

  4. Etymology: prisma, from πρίσμα, from πρίζειν.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRISMnoun

    A prism of glass is a glass bounded with two equal and parallel triangular ends, and three plain and well polished sides, which meet in three parallel lines, running from the three angles of one end, to the three angles of the other end. Isaac Newton Opticks.

    Etymology: prisme, Fr. πϱίσμα.

    Here, aweful Newton, the dissolving clouds
    Form fronting, on the sun, thy showery prism. James Thomson.


  1. PRISM

    PRISM is a code name for a program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from various U.S. internet companies. The program is also known by the SIGAD US-984XN. PRISM collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google LLC under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms. Among other things, the NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to get data that is easier to handle.PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration. The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as "dangerous" and "criminal" activities. The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between the NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) division and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.Documents indicate that PRISM is "the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports", and it accounts for 91% of the NSA's internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority." The leaked information came after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over logs tracking all of its customers' telephone calls to the NSA.U.S. government officials have disputed criticisms of PRISM in the Guardian and Washington Post articles and have defended the program, asserting that it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant. Additionally claiming the program has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government's executive, judicial and legislative branches. On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA's data gathering practices constitute "a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people."

Webster Dictionary

  1. Prismnoun

    a solid whose bases or ends are any similar, equal, and parallel plane figures, and whose sides are parallelograms

  2. Prismnoun

    a transparent body, with usually three rectangular plane faces or sides, and two equal and parallel triangular ends or bases; -- used in experiments on refraction, dispersion, etc

  3. Prismnoun

    a form the planes of which are parallel to the vertical axis. See Form, n., 13

  4. Etymology: [L. prisma, Gr. pri`sma, fr. pri`zein, pri`ein, to saw: cf. F. prisme.]


  1. Prism

    In optics, a prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least two of the flat surfaces must have an angle between them. The exact angles between the surfaces depend on the application. The traditional geometrical shape is that of a triangular prism with a triangular base and rectangular sides, and in colloquial use "prism" usually refers to this type. Some types of optical prism are not in fact in the shape of geometric prisms. Prisms can be made from any material that is transparent to the wavelengths for which they are designed. Typical materials include glass, plastic and fluorite. A prism can be used to break light up into its constituent spectral colors. Prisms can also be used to reflect light, or to split light into components with different polarizations.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prism

    prizm, n. (geom.) a solid whose ends are similar, equal, and parallel planes, and whose sides are parallelograms: (opt.) a solid glass, triangular-shaped body, used for resolving rays of light into their separate colours.—adjs. Prismat′ic, -al, resembling or pertaining to a prism: separated or formed by a prism.—adv. Prismat′ically.—ns. Pris′matoid, Pris′moid, a figure in the form of a prism.—adjs. Pris′matoidal, Pris′moidal; Pris′my, prismatic in colour. [L.,—Gr. prisma, -atos.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. prism

    In dioptrics, is a geometrical solid bounded by three parallelograms, whose bases are equal triangles.

Suggested Resources

  1. prism

    Song lyrics by prism -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by prism on the Lyrics.com website.

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How to pronounce prism?

How to say prism in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prism in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prism in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of prism in a Sentence

  1. Damon Albarn:

    It's a truly miraculous sound they create ... There's a whole choir, there's strings, there's soloists, there's amazing percussion. It's a really dynamic and joyous sound, we're so used to seeing Syria through the prism of news, which is entirely a negative thing. This concert will give a completely different perspective.

  2. Chris Murphy:

    Guns flow in this country like water, and that's why we have mass shooting after mass shooting, and, you know, spare me the bullshit about mental illness, we don't have any more mental illness than any other country in the world. You can not explain this through a prism of mental illness because... we're not an outlier on mental illness, we're an outlier when it comes to access to firearms and the ability of criminals and very sick people to get their hands on firearms. That's what makes America different.

  3. Pete Buttigieg:

    I think anybody in this process needs to demonstrate how they will represent people of any faith, people of no faith, but I also think the time has come to reclaim faith as a theme, the idea that the only way a religious person could enter politics is through the prism of the religious right, I just dont think that makes sense.

  4. Raphael Warnock:

    You must know that this is a glimpse of God's vision of a more inclusive humanity that embraces all of God's children. I'm just grateful to be a part of this. I'm just grateful because I just want to serve, I just want to be a vessel, I just want to be an instrument, I just want to be a prism of God's glory so that God's glory can shine through me.

  5. Karlie Brand:

    It doesn’t have to be a voice that is only seeing Australia Day through the prism of positivity, it’s allowed to be a day that is difficult and raw. And it really is for many.

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Translations for prism

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"prism." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/prism>.

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    cause to feel shame; hurt the pride of
    • A. transpire
    • B. abide
    • C. cleave
    • D. abase

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