Definition of magnitude in English:


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  • 1The great size or extent of something.

    ‘they may feel discouraged at the magnitude of the task before them’
    • ‘Proposing the means by which this group psychopathology can be overcome is a task of magnitude beyond the scope of this work.’
    • ‘Do we know how - what the extent of the magnitude of this disaster is yet, or are we still finding things out?’
    • ‘One would have thought that a story of this magnitude would warrant extensive media coverage but no, the silence is deafening.’
    • ‘That Newmont is planning a school teaching the basic thee Rs, not to kids, but to adults keen to get a job, is a measure of the task's magnitude.’
    • ‘The magnitude of the task was overwhelming, the costs intimidating, yet even if had they been grasped there was not the talent within government to deliver.’
    • ‘His cell is larger than the others, owing to the sheer magnitude of his size, and it's a single.’
    • ‘It certainly took everyone by surprise in terms of the scope and magnitude of the devastation.’
    • ‘She observed that organising a tournament of such magnitude was a mammoth task and urged Lilayi Polo Club to use the sponsorship wisely to further develop the sport.’
    • ‘The technical magnitude of such a task is compounded by the need to ensure the accuracy and authority of Internet-based resources.’
    • ‘It would be a security engineering task of unbelievable magnitude, and I don't think we have a prayer of getting it right.’
    • ‘We were enthusiastic about making our practice more evidence based but initially daunted by the potential magnitude of the task.’
    • ‘The size and magnitude of the attendance alone is mind-boggling.’
    • ‘The size and magnitude of the room overwhelmed Enela.’
    • ‘And so when an officer or his crew makes a mistake of this magnitude or proportion, the end state is the same.’
    • ‘It's also important to grasp the magnitude of the challenge they're undertaking.’
    • ‘Unable to state how much would be required, he said a tournament of such magnitude called for substantial resources and his association was appealing for assistance to make the tournament a success.’
    • ‘We understand that not all bills are subject to consideration by this council, but given the substance and magnitude of this legislation, we feel it is an appropriate and necessary step.’
    • ‘A creature of this magnitude would need immense open spaces.’
    • ‘Will a park of this massive magnitude get off the ground?’
    • ‘Reports about the 7.9 earthquake remain sketchy, but an earthquake of that magnitude can do massive damage.’
    immensity, vastness, hugeness, enormity, enormousness, expanse
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    1. 1.1Great importance.
      ‘events of tragic magnitude’
      • ‘Does an event of this magnitude necessarily have momentous causes stretching far back in French history?’
      • ‘They came to Everett Mall to face the overwhelming pressure, cutthroat competition and public humiliation only an event of this magnitude can provide.’
      • ‘He said it was important to emphasise that the November 14 flooding was ‘an event of extraordinary magnitude.’’
      • ‘The magnitude of such events being celebrated at this venue by the district administration becomes high with the participation of numerous schools and colleges.’
      • ‘The first danger lies in the unknowables - unpredictable events of such magnitude that they swamp the variables that economists are comfortable dealing with.’
      • ‘In time he'll come to appreciate the Beatles' artistry and realize the historic magnitude of the events he's covering.’
      • ‘New York has never witnessed an event of this magnitude, as the 22nd’
      • ‘A big thank you also to the sponsors of the various races without whose support and sponsorship it would not have been possible to host an event of this magnitude.’
      • ‘Now, I believe that an event of this magnitude doesn't just deserve attention - it deserves some special attention.’
      • ‘A world event of this magnitude has been sadly absent from these shores since football's World Cup of 1966 and remember how brilliant that was.’
      • ‘An event of this magnitude could perhaps one day bring recognition to ‘true’ heroes and heroines in society.’
      • ‘One, they were coming in relatively small numbers for a news event of this magnitude…’
      • ‘The fullest consequences and magnitude of this shift are yet to be adequately noticed.’
      • ‘The media is speculating about our financial returns, but the promotional value of telecasting an event of such magnitude is immense.’
      • ‘And, despite the unfathomable magnitude of the events of that morning, life has, for all intents and purposes, returned to normal for most of us.’
      • ‘When the inevitable occurs, and he dies as a result of his fragile constitution, the event is of such magnitude that the narrator is overwhelmed by grief and despair.’
      • ‘The minister said events of such magnitude had a positive impact on a country's economy as they boosted the tourism sector and also helped in upgrading of infrastructure.’
      • ‘Organizers wish to express their enormous appreciation to community and corporate sponsors without which an event of this magnitude could not happen.’
      • ‘The catastrophe of the Late Devonian was roughly equivalent in magnitude to the event at the end of the Cretaceous that killed the dinosaurs.’
      • ‘For comparative historical analysis, this should be a revolution of the same magnitude as the Hubble space telescope was in astronomy.’
      importance, import, significance, weight, moment, consequence, mark, notability, note, greatness, distinction, eminence, fame, renown, intensity, power
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  • 2Size.

    ‘electorates of less than average magnitude’
    • ‘Asset deflation of this magnitude for the average American is thus very painful.’
    • ‘The magnitude of all species activity at the still water site on Brier Island was one-third the average magnitude of activity at still water sites at Kejimkujik National Park.’
    • ‘This correlation may have been increased when few extreme animals per family were selected, because the average magnitude of residual effects was likely increased.’
    • ‘More generally, estimates of the average magnitude of epistasis per mutation pair are difficult to extract from designs of this type.’
    • ‘In addition, its average magnitude also decreased slightly.’
    • ‘This underrepresentation is of the same magnitude as the average for genes in the human genome.’
    • ‘That is to say, the average American income is of quite some magnitude above the average New Zealand income.’
    • ‘With the thermodynamic value of total power, we can then estimate the average magnitude of tectonic stress.’
    • ‘The remaining mitochondrial data support similar divergence time estimates, with differences increasing in magnitude as average calibration age increases.’
    • ‘Although some realignments took place, both their frequency and magnitude were substantially lower than in the previous phase.’
    • ‘It steadily increased in size until it reached its full magnitude in 1885 as an ugly but substantial shelf-like structure.’
    • ‘In regard to the immense territory of the United States, magnitude is best conveyed by considering the variety of the society settled on it, as various as that of Europe.’
    • ‘If the average business tried to pass on price increases of this magnitude to their customers they would quickly find themselves going out of business.’
    • ‘It is not the mean river flow that determines the yield from a dam on a river, but the duration and magnitude of sequences of below average flows.’
    • ‘No rigorous studies have evaluated the frequency or magnitude of effects of such substances on blood pressure.’
    • ‘Grasses, for example, produce an insulative thatch that reduces the average temperature and the magnitude of temperature fluctuations in surface mineral soils.’
    • ‘Given the magnitude of these numbers, a substantial volume of recruitment would be expected for direct care-givers such as nursing aides.’
    • ‘The position of a mobile pointer on a calibrated scale carries information about the magnitude of the quantity being measured.’
    • ‘The degree and magnitude of the health risks involved in cell phone usage have yet to be determined in a comprehensive manner.’
    • ‘A reduction of that magnitude represents a significant potential savings - a savings greater than many facility executives realize.’
    size, extent, measure, proportions, dimensions, breadth, volume, weight, quantity, mass, bulk
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    1. 2.1A numerical quantity or value.
      ‘the magnitudes of all the economic variables could be determined’
      • ‘Determining meaningful qualitative values for the magnitudes of quantities is a difficult task when building qualitative models about populations.’
      • ‘He proposed the use of a graph for plotting a variable magnitude whose value depends on another variable.’
      • ‘The level of the moral and psychological state is calculated as an arithmetic mean value of the magnitudes of the corresponding indicators with account taken of their weight coefficients.’
      • ‘Test scores, presented as unadjusted means and standard deviations for the major groups tested, show the magnitudes of the mean numerical scores.’
      • ‘One interpretation has it that Plato took numbers to be ratios of geometric magnitudes.’
      • ‘Given the range of possibilities, it is fortunate that we can make a few statements about the relative magnitudes of the biometric quantities without an explicit model of mutational effects.’
      • ‘The three dimensions to an economic analysis using present value are assessing the magnitudes of the relevant cost or benefit flows, determining the period over which these flows will occur, and selecting the appropriate discount rate.’
      • ‘The problem with visual interpretation of the results is that it is not possible to reliably intuit the quantitative magnitudes of the various contributions and thus the balance of terms which gives rise to the net entropy changes.’
      • ‘Also, preliminary inspection showed no negative error variances and no theory-contradicting signs or magnitudes in the estimate values.’
      • ‘The factor of safety for any stem in the canopy of even a large tree can be quantified provided that the magnitudes of stem working and breaking stresses are known.’
      • ‘Numbers that denote the magnitudes of sets are called cardinal numbers.’
      • ‘There is, however, an unexplained discrepancy between the magnitudes of the diffusion coefficients obtained from the two techniques.’
      • ‘The magnitudes of the coefficients associated with buddy status and teammate aggressiveness were lower in this model than in the concurrent model.’
      • ‘In contrast, the electric field is a vector quantity (meaning it has both a magnitude and a direction).’
      • ‘It is useful to be able to provide verbal labels for likelihood ratios of various magnitudes.’
      • ‘The magnitude of these correlations indicates that the constructs of supportiveness and social toy play are related to each other but are not the same thing.’
      • ‘Together, these simulations suggest that selection is required to explain the overall reduction in hybrid indices, with varying magnitudes of selection being necessary to explain the dissimilarity among the four replicates.’
      • ‘These magnitudes are approximations and should in no way be considered as standard magnitude values.’
      • ‘Some of the magnitudes of physics are speed, force, and time.’
      • ‘Compare your estimated magnitudes with those of the rest of the class.’
      value, index, indicator, measure, norm, order, quantity, number, vector, figure
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  • 3The degree of brightness of a star. The magnitude of an astronomical object is now reckoned as the negative logarithm of the brightness; a decrease of one magnitude represents an increase in brightness of 2.512 times. A star with an apparent magnitude of six is barely visible to the naked eye.

    count noun ‘the brightest stars have the lowest magnitudes’
    • ‘Mars now appears as a moderately bright yellowish-orange star of magnitude + 1.2.’
    • ‘At midmonth the ringed planet appears as a bright yellow-white ‘star’ shining at magnitude 0.3.’
    • ‘It appears as a very bright yellowish-white ‘star’ shining at magnitude 0.1 at midmonth.’
    • ‘Although it swings back toward the Sun after the 15th, it remains visible until nearly the end of the month as it brightens to magnitude - 0.7.’
    • ‘Early projections suggest that it might become as bright as magnitude 0.3, but this is uncertain.’
    • ‘The aura's brightness increased in magnitude.’
    • ‘It shines as bright as it ever does, at magnitude - 0.5; only two stars, Sirius and Canopus, are brighter.’
    • ‘The lights were all of a greater relative magnitude than Sirius - perhaps equaling or greater than Venus in brightness.’
    • ‘The brightness increases as magnitude lowers.’
    • ‘The difference between photographic and visual magnitudes was a convenient measure of a star's color.’
    • ‘The brightness classes are now known as apparent magnitudes, and are denoted by a lowercase m.’
    • ‘The main work was to photograph the Southern skies (repeatedly in interesting areas) with various instruments and thereby to derive the positions, magnitudes and spectra of stars and other objects.’
    • ‘These resulted in his Photometric Researches, the first modern compilation of star magnitudes and among the first works to suggest a disk shape for the Milky Way galaxy.’
    • ‘He carried out a large survey of stellar magnitudes while at the Göttingen Observatory, publishing Aktinometrie (the first part in 1910, the second in 1912).’
    • ‘Use the visual magnitudes and distances you found earlier to find the absolute magnitudes of these stars.’
    • ‘He classified the stars into 6 magnitudes where 1 is the brightest and 6 is the faintest visible to the naked eye.’
    • ‘Just off-center was a yellow star of a brighter magnitude than the others around it.’
    • ‘By using a list of stars of known magnitudes it is possible to determine the magnitude of the faintest visible stars on any particular night.’
    • ‘Astronomers measure the brightness of stars in units called magnitudes but this is not a unit like a meter or a kilogramme.’
    • ‘We would appear as a brilliant bluish-white star of magnitude - 2.3, apparently hovering not too far from Venus.’
    brightness, brilliance, radiance, luminosity
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    1. 3.1The class into which a star falls by virtue of its brightness.
      ‘a star of the fifth magnitude’
      • ‘Neither fish is brightly illuminated, with only three of the constellation stars appearing slightly brighter than 4th magnitude.’
      • ‘Cancer is a constellation with few stars, none brighter than 4th magnitude.’
      • ‘Labrum, though only 4th magnitude, is the brightest.’
      • ‘Let us admit that Cygni, Tauri, and others, are stars of the second magnitude, such as are here to be considered.’
      • ‘Hubble can detect objects as faint as thirty-first magnitude, which is comparable to the sensitivity of much larger Earth-based telescopes.’
    2. 3.2A difference of one on a scale of brightness, treated as a unit of measurement.
      ‘a range of a tenth of a magnitude’
      • ‘Mercury will be positioned above and to the right of Saturn on the evening of May 6 and will appear nearly one full magnitude brighter.’



/ˈmaɡnəˌt(y)o͞od/ /ˈmæɡnəˌt(j)ud/


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘greatness of character’): from Latin magnitudo, from magnus ‘great’.