Definition of magnitude noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈmæɡnɪtjuːd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmæɡnɪtuːd//
    magnitude (of something) Natural disasters
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  1. 1[uncountable] (formal) the great size or importance of something; the degree to which something is large or important We did not realize the magnitude of the problem. a discovery of the first magnitude
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] (astronomy) the degree to which a star is bright The star varies in brightness by about three magnitudes.
  3. 3[countable, uncountable] (geology) the size of an earthquake The quake reached a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale. See related entries: Natural disasters
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (also in the sense ‘greatness of character’): from Latin magnitudo, from magnus ‘great’.Extra examples Stars of the first magnitude are visible to the naked eye. The effects were substantial in magnitude. They appear to underestimate the magnitude of such influences. They failed to comprehend the magnitude of the problem. We will face challenges of a similar magnitude. a disaster of the first magnitude a fall in costs of sufficient magnitude to enable us to reduce prices This is a discovery of the first magnitude. We are talking about something of a different order of magnitude.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: magnitude