2. [syn: order of magnitude, magnitude]
3. relative importance;
- Example: "a problem of the first magnitude"
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Magnitude \Mag"ni*tude\, n. [L. magnitudo, from magnus great.
See Master, and cf. Maxim.]
1. 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. --Sir I.
2. (Geom.) That which has one or more of the three
dimensions, length, breadth, and thickness.
3. Anything of which greater or less can be predicated, as
time, weight, force, and the like.
4. Greatness; grandeur. "With plain, heroic magnitude of
5. Greatness, in reference to influence or effect;
importance; as, an affair of magnitude.
The magnitude of his designs. --Bp. Horsley.
6. (Astron.) See magnitude of a star, below.
1. (Opt.), the angular breadth of an object viewed as
measured by the angle which it subtends at the eye of the
observer; -- called also apparent diameter.
2. (Astron.) Same as magnitude of a star, below.
Magnitude of a star (Astron.), the rank of a star with
respect to brightness. About twenty very bright stars are
said to be of first magnitude, the stars of the sixth
magnitude being just visible to the naked eye; called also
visual magnitude, apparent magnitude, and simply
magnitude. Stars observable only in the telescope are
classified down to below the twelfth magnitude. The
difference in actual brightness between magnitudes is now
specified as a factor of 2.512, i.e. the difference in
brightness is 100 for stars differing by five magnitudes.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: 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"
2: 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 [syn: order of magnitude, magnitude]
3: relative importance; "a problem of the first magnitude"
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
125 Moby Thesaurus words for "magnitude":
Beehive, Cepheid variable, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, Hyades,
Messier catalog, NGC, Pleiades, Seven Sisters, absolute magnitude,
amount, ampleness, amplitude, area, bigness, binary star,
black hole, body, boundlessness, breadth, bulk, caliber,
consequence, coverage, depth, diameter, dimension, dimensions,
double star, dwarf star, enormity, enormousness, expanse,
expansion, extension, extent, fixed star, force, formidableness,
fullness, gauge, giant star, gigantism, girth, globular cluster,
grandeur, grandness, gravity star, great scope, greatness, height,
hugeness, immensity, import, importance, infinity, intensity,
largeness, length, main sequence star, mass, mass-luminosity law,
matter, measure, measurement, might, mightiness, moment,
momentousness, muchness, neighborhood, neutron star, note, nova,
numbers, open cluster, order, pith, plenitude, populations, power,
prodigiousness, proportion, proportions, pulsar, quantity, quantum,
quasar, quasi-stellar radio source, radio star, radius, range,
reach, red giant star, relative magnitude, scale, scope,
significance, signification, size, sky atlas,
spectrum-luminosity diagram, spread, star, star catalog,
star chart, star cloud, star cluster, stellar magnitude, strength,
stupendousness, substance, sum, supernova, tour de force,
tremendousness, tune, variable star, vastness, vicinity, volume,
weight, weightiness, white dwarf star, whole, width
The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906):
MAGNITUDE, n. Size. Magnitude being purely relative, nothing is
large and nothing small. If everything in the universe were increased
in bulk one thousand diameters nothing would be any larger than it was
before, but if one thing remain unchanged all the others would be
larger than they had been. To an understanding familiar with the
relativity of magnitude and distance the spaces and masses of the
astronomer would be no more impressive than those of the microscopist.
For anything we know to the contrary, the visible universe may be a
small part of an atom, with its component ions, floating in the life-
fluid (luminiferous ether) of some animal. Possibly the wee creatures
peopling the corpuscles of our own blood are overcome with the proper
emotion when contemplating the unthinkable distance from one of these