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



    BrE BrE//ˈspektrəm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈspektrəm//
    (pl. spectra
    BrE BrE//ˈspektrə//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈspektrə//
    Energy and physical forces
    jump to other results
  1. 1 a band of coloured lights in order of their wavelengths, as seen in a rainbow and into which light may be separated A spectrum is formed by a ray of light passing through a prism. Red and violet are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
  2. 2 a range of sound waves or several other types of wave the electromagnetic/radio/sound spectrum See related entries: Energy and physical forces
  3. 3[usually singular] a complete or wide range of related qualities, ideas, etc. a broad spectrum of interests We shall hear views from across the political spectrum.
  4. Word Originearly 17th cent. (in the sense ‘spectre’): from Latin, literally ‘image, apparition’, from specere ‘to look’.Extra examples Other species can perceive colours of the spectrum that are invisible to us. The courses cover the full spectrum of levels. The newspaper covers a broad spectrum of opinion. The two speakers were chosen to represent opposite ends of the spectrum. There was consensus across the political spectrum. These thinkers represent a wide spectrum of political perspectives. These wavelengths correspond to red in the visible spectrum. a continuous spectrum of light waves a wide spectrum of interests the ultraviolet part of the spectrum The policy has the support of a broad spectrum of opinion.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: spectrum