All Words Glossary

Glossary of Physics Terms
beginning with letter S
Browse the Physics Glossary

scattering Tweet Definition of scattering Like Definition of scattering on Facebook
  1. a small quantity of something occurring at irregular intervals and dispersed at random points
There will be a of showers, with heavy rain in places.
  1. (physics) the process whereby a beam of waves or particles is dispersed by collisions or similar interactions
schlieren Tweet Definition of schlieren Like Definition of schlieren on Facebook
noun (plural)
  1. Regions of a fluid having different refractive index because of their different density
  1. (geology) Irregular streaks of different composition in some igneous rocks
scintillation counter Tweet Definition of scintillation counter Like Definition of scintillation counter on Facebook
  1. (physics) A detector of particles and ionizing radiation which uses a photomultiplier to generate flashes of light
SCRAM Tweet Definition of SCRAM Like Definition of SCRAM on Facebook
  1. the emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor.
  2. originally, performing the emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor by insertion of one or more safety control rods, such as by cutting a rope (acronym: "Safety Control Rod Axe Man")
screen Tweet Definition of screen Like Definition of screen on Facebook
  1. A physical divider intended to block an area from view.
  2. A material woven from fine wires intended to block animals or large particles from passing while allowing gasses, liquids and finer particles to pass.
  3. The informational viewing area of electronic output devices; the result of the output.
    • 1977, Sex Pistols, Spunk, "Problems":
    • : You won't find me living for the
      1. The viewing area of a movie, or moving picture or slide presentation
      2. (basketball) An offensive tactic in which a player stands so as to block a defender from reaching a teammate.
      3. (baseball) The protective netting which protects the audience from flying objects
      Jones caught the foul up against the .
  1. To filter by passing through a screen.
Mary screened the beans to remove the clumps of gravel.
  1. To remove information, or censor intellectual material from viewing
The news report was screened because it accused the politician of wrongdoing.
  1. (context, film, television) To present publicly (on the screen).
The news report will be screened at 11:00 tonight.
  1. To fit with a screen.
We need to this porch. These bugs are driving me crazy.
secondary emission Tweet Definition of secondary emission Like Definition of secondary emission on Facebook
  1. (physics) The emission of electrons from the surface of a solid when bombarded with electrons or other charged particles
Seebeck effect Tweet Definition of Seebeck effect Like Definition of Seebeck effect on Facebook
  1. (physics) the thermodynamic effect by which heat being passed through a thermocouple is converted into electricity
selection rule Tweet Definition of selection rule Like Definition of selection rule on Facebook
  1. (physics) Any of several general rules concerning the transitions between the states of a quantum mechanical system; they derive from the symmetry properties of the states and of their interactions
semisolid Tweet Definition of semisolid Like Definition of semisolid on Facebook
  1. Having properties that partially resemble those of a solid; having properties between those of a solid and those of a liquid.
shadowgraph Tweet Definition of shadowgraph Like Definition of shadowgraph on Facebook
  1. (physics) An optical technique of visualizing patterns of fluid flow by using differences in refractive index
  2. (obsolete) An X-ray image.
shear Tweet Definition of shear Like Definition of shear on Facebook
  1. a cutting tool similar to scissors, but often larger
  2. the act of shearing, or something removed by shearing
  1. (physics) a force that produces a shearing strain
verb (shears, shearing, sheared or shore, shorn or sheared)
  1. To cut, originally with a sword or other bladed weapon, now usually with shears, or as if using shears.
    • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe:
    • : So trenchant was the Templar"s weapon, that it shore asunder, as it had been a willow twig, the tough and plaited handle of the mace, which the ill-fated Saxon reared to parry the blow, and, descending on his head, levelled him with the earth.
      1. To remove the fleece from a sheep etc by clipping
    • (physics) To deform because of shearing forces
shortwave Tweet Definition of shortwave Like Definition of shortwave on Facebook
  1. (context, of radio waves) having a wavelength of approximately 10 to 200 meters
  2. (context, of radio equipment) capable of transmitting or receiving signals at such a wavelength.
sievert Tweet Definition of sievert Like Definition of sievert on Facebook
  1. In the International System of Units, the derived unit of radiation dose; the dose received in one hour at a distance of 1 cm from a point source of 1 mg of radium in a 0.5 mm thick platinum enclosure. Symbol: Sv
simple harmonic motion Tweet Definition of simple harmonic motion Like Definition of simple harmonic motion on Facebook
  1. (mathematics & physics) Oscillating motion (as of a pendulum) in which the acceleration of the oscillator has an equal magnitude but opposite direction to the displacement of it from the equilibrium position
sine wave Tweet Definition of sine wave Like Definition of sine wave on Facebook
noun (pluralsine waves)
  1. (trigonometry), (signal processing) A waveform described by the sine function possibly shifted by some phase.
slug Tweet Definition of slug Like Definition of slug on Facebook
noun (wikipedia, Slug (disambiguation), slug)
  1. Any of many terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks, having no (or only rudimentary) shell
  2. (physics, rarely used) the Imperial (English) unit of mass that accelerates by 1 foot per second squared (1 ft/s²) when a force of one pound-force (lbf) is exerted on it.
  3. A discrete quantity of one fluid that flows though the line surrounded by another.
  4. A bullet.
  5. A counterfeit coin, especially one used to steal from vending machines.
  6. A shot of a drink, usually alcoholic.
  7. A title, name or header
  8. (slang) A lazy person, a sluggard.
  9. (context, television editing) A black screen
  10. (context, typesetting) A piece of typemetal imprinted by a Linotype machine; also a black mark placed in the margin to indicate an error
verb (slug, g, ed)
  1. To drink quickly; to gulp.
  2. To down a shot.
  3. (transitive) To hit very hard.
He insulted my mother, so I slugged him.
The batter slugged the ball out of the park.
smoke Tweet Definition of smoke Like Definition of smoke on Facebook
  1. (uncountable) Very fine particles and vapor/vapour given off by burning material.
  2. (Military) A particulate of solid or liquid particles dispersed into the air on the battlefield to degrade enemy ground and aerial observation. Smoke has many uses--screening smoke, signaling smoke, smoke curtain, smoke haze, and smoke deception. Thus it is an artificial aerosol.
  3. An instance of smoking a cigarette, cigar, etc.
  • I'm going out for a .
    1. (slang) (countable) A cigarette.
    2. A light grey colour/color tinted with blue.
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    1. (slang) The Smoke: London
verb (smok, ing)
  1. (intransitive) To deliberately inhale smoke, especially from cigarettes.
  • Do you ?
    1. (transitive) To deliberately inhale the smoke from for example a cigarette, cigar, or pipe.
He's smoking his pipe.
  1. (transitive) To preserve by treating with smoke.
We can buy some smoked salmon for the occasion.
  1. (intransitive) To give off smoke.
  1. Of the colour known as smoke.
soft Tweet Definition of soft Like Definition of soft on Facebook
adjective ((compar): softer, (superl): softest)
  1. Giving way under pressure.
My head sank easily into the soft pillow.
  1. (context, of cloth or similar material) Smooth and flexible.
Polish the silver with a soft cloth to avoid scratching.
  1. Gentle.
There was a soft breeze blowing.
  1. (context, of a sound) Quiet.
I could hear the soft rustle of the leaves in the trees.''
  1. (linguistics) voiced, sonant
DH represents the voiced (soft) th of English these clothes. " w:The Lords of the Rings, The Lord of the Rings, w:J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien
  1. (linguistics) (rare) voiceless
  2. (linguistics) palatalized
  3. Lacking strength or resolve.
When it comes to drinking, Wessel is as soft as they come.
  1. (context, of water) Low in dissolved calcium compounds.
You won't need as much soap, as the water here is very soft.
  1. (Northern British, colloquial) Foolish.
solid Tweet Definition of solid Like Definition of solid on Facebook
  1. (chemistry) A fundamental state of matter that retains its size and shape without need of a container. Solids that are sufficiently heated may sublimate into a gas or melt into a liquid.
  2. (geometry) A three-dimensional object.
  1. In the state of being a solid.
  2. Large, massive.
  3. Extremely filling (a solid meal.)
  4. Lacking holes or hollows (solid gold, solid chocolate.)
  5. Strong, unyielding (solid foundations.)
  6. Lacking errors or inconsistencies that would render a theory or concept doubtful.
solidify Tweet Definition of solidify Like Definition of solidify on Facebook
verb (solidifies, solidifying, solidified, solidified)
  1. (transitive) To make solid; convert into a solid body.
  2. (transitive) To concentrate; consolidate.
  3. (intransitive) To become solid; to freeze.
sone Tweet Definition of sone Like Definition of sone on Facebook
  1. (context, acoustics) a subjective unit of loudness for an average listener equal to the loudness of a 1000-hertz sound that has an intensity 40 decibels above the listener's own threshold of hearing
sonic Tweet Definition of sonic Like Definition of sonic on Facebook
  1. of or relating to sound
  2. having a speed approaching that of the speed of sound in air
sonic boom Tweet Definition of sonic boom Like Definition of sonic boom on Facebook
  1. The audible effect of a shock wave in the air, especially one caused by an aircraft flying faster then the speed of sound
sound Tweet Definition of sound Like Definition of sound on Facebook
  1. A sensation perceived by the ear caused by the vibration of air or some other medium. (He turned when he heard the of footsteps behind him.)
Nobody made a .
  1. A vibration capable of causing this.
  1. (intransitive) To produce a sound.
When the horn sounds, be careful.
  1. (rfex) (transitive) To state or utter, especially with deliberation; to repeat.
  2. (transitive) To cause to produce a sound.
He sounds the instrument.
  1. (intransitive) To arise or to be recognizable as arising within a particular area of law.
"There can be no doubt that claims brought pursuant to § 1983 in tort."
-City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 709 (1999).
adjective (sounder, soundest)
  1. healthy, Healthy.
He was safe and .
  1. complete, Complete, solid, or secure.
Fred assured me the floorboards were .
  1. (context, British, slang) Good or a good thing.
"How are you?" - "I'm ."
That's a track you're playing.
sound barrier Tweet Definition of sound barrier Like Definition of sound barrier on Facebook
  1. (uncountable) The apparent physical boundary (caused by a sudden increase in drag) preventing objects from becoming supersonic.
  2. (countable) A structure beside a highway designed to reduce the noise of traffic.
soundproof Tweet Definition of soundproof Like Definition of soundproof on Facebook
  1. Describing something that does not allow sound through.
    The contestant was placed in a booth so he could not receive help from the audience.
sound wave Tweet Definition of sound wave Like Definition of sound wave on Facebook
  1. (physics) the longitudinal wave of pressure that is transmitted through any plastic material; audible sound
space Tweet Definition of space Like Definition of space on Facebook
  1. The intervening contents of a volume.
  2. (uncountable) Space occupied by or intended for a person or thing.
There's not enough space for this couch in this room.
  1. (countable) An area or volume of sufficient size to accommodate a person or thing.
They reserved a space for him to park his car.
Write your name in the space below.
  1. The area beyond the atmosphere of planets that consists of a vacuum.
  2. A gap between written characters; blank.
  3. (typography) A piece of type used to separate words.
  4. (geometry) A set of points, each of which is uniquely specified by a set of coordinates; the number of coordinates specifying a point and the number of mutually perpendicular axis, axes along which the coordinates lie are the same, and that is the number of dimensions of the space.
We live in a space that has at least four dimensions: up-down, left-right, forward-backward, and future-past.
  1. One's personal freedom to think or be oneself.
I just need some , man.
  1. The state of mind one is in when daydreaming.
  2. (mathematics) a generalized construct or set, the members of which have certain properties in common; often used in combination with the name of a particular mathematician
  3. (context, Indian philosophy) One of the five basic elements.
verb (spac, ing)
  1. (transitive) To be separated to a distance.
:The cities are evenly spaced.
  1. (intransitive) To vent into vacuum.
:The captain spaced the traitors.
space-time Tweet Definition of space-time Like Definition of space-time on Facebook
  1. (physics) A four-dimensional space (in the mathematical sense), with three dimensions assigned to physically observable space and one dimension assigned to time
specific charge Tweet Definition of specific charge Like Definition of specific charge on Facebook
  1. (physics) The ratio of the electric charge to the mass of a particle
specific gravity Tweet Definition of specific gravity Like Definition of specific gravity on Facebook
  1. (physics) The ratio of the mass of a substance to that of an equal volume of water at 4°C (or to some other reference substance)
spectrogram Tweet Definition of spectrogram Like Definition of spectrogram on Facebook
  1. a visual representation of the spectrum of a sound changing through time
  2. (astronomy) a visual representation of the spectrum of a celestial body's radiation
spin Tweet Definition of spin Like Definition of spin on Facebook
  1. circular, Circular motion.
  2. (physics) A quantum angular momentum associated with subatomic particles, which also creates a magnetic moment.
  3. A favourable comment or interpretation intended to bias opinion on an otherwise unpleasant situation.
  4. (cricket) rotation, Rotation of the ball as it flies through the air; sideways movement of the ball as it bounces.
  5. A condition of flight where a stalled aircraft is simultaneously pitching, yawing and rolling in a spinning motion.
verb (spins, spinning, spun or span, spun)
  1. To turn around quickly.
  2. To present, describe, or interpret, or to introduce a bias or slant so as to give something a favorable or advantageous appearance.
2006. In every administration there will be spokesmen and public affairs officers who try to spin the news to make the president look good. But this administration is trying to spin scientific data and muzzle scientists toward that end. &mdash; The Washington Post Editorial, The Politics of Science, Thursday, February 9, 2006; Page A22
  1. (context, cricket, of a bowler) To make the ball move sideways when it bounces on the pitch.
  2. (context, cricket, of a ball) To move sideways when bouncing.
  1. (cricket) Describing a spin bowler, or his style of bowling.
Split Tweet Definition of Split Like Definition of Split on Facebook
proper noun
  1. A port of Croatia.
stable Tweet Definition of stable Like Definition of stable on Facebook
  1. A building, wing or dependency set apart and adapted for lodging and feeding (and training) animals with hoofs, especially horses
  2. (metonymy) all the racehorses of a particular stable, i.e. belonging to a given owner.
  1. Relatively unchanging, permanent; firmly fixed or established, not easily to be moved, changed, unbalanced, destroyed or altered in value.
He was in a stable relationship.
standard temperature and pressure Tweet Definition of standard temperature and pressure Like Definition of standard temperature and pressure on Facebook
  1. (physical chemistry) The international, standard conditions used to aid reproducibility; a temperature of 0 °C (273.15 K) and a pressure of 1 atmosphere (101.325 kPa).
Stark effect Tweet Definition of Stark effect Like Definition of Stark effect on Facebook
  1. (physics) the splitting and shift of a spectral line into several components in the presence of an electric field
static Tweet Definition of static Like Definition of static on Facebook
  1. interference on a broadcast signal caused by atmospheric disturbances; heard as crackles on radio, or seen as random specks on television
  2. (context, by extension) interference or obstruction from people
  3. Something that is not part of any perceived universe phenomena; having no motion; no particle; no wavelength.
  1. Not able to change
  2. Fixed in place
  3. (complang) Occupying memory allocated when a program is load, loaded.
  4. Having no motion
statistical mechanics Tweet Definition of statistical mechanics Like Definition of statistical mechanics on Facebook
  1. (physics) The branch of physics that uses statistical laws to make theoretical predictions about macroscopic systems of particles.
steam Tweet Definition of steam Like Definition of steam on Facebook
  1. the vapor formed when water changes from liquid phase to gas phase
  2. pressurized water vapour used for heating, cooking, or to provide mechanical energy
  3. (context, by extension) energy; power
After three weeks in bed he was finally able to sit up under his own .
  1. (context, cooking, transitive) to cook with steam
  2. (intransitive) to become angry; to fume; to be incensed
  3. (intransitive) to produce or vent steam
  4. (intransitive) to be covered with condensed water vapor
With all the heavy breathing going on the windows were quickly steamed in the car.
  1. (intransitive) to travel by means of steam power
We steamed around the Mediterranean.
  1. ((figurative or literal) To move with great or excessive purposefulness.
If he heard of anyone picking the fruit he would off and lecture them.
Stoke Tweet Definition of Stoke Like Definition of Stoke on Facebook
proper noun
  1. Stoke-on-Trent
strangeness Tweet Definition of strangeness Like Definition of strangeness on Facebook
  1. Condition of being strange, odd, or weird.
  2. (physics) one of the quantum numbers of subatomic particles that depends upon the relative number of strange quarks and anti-strange quarks
strange quark Tweet Definition of strange quark Like Definition of strange quark on Facebook
  1. (particles) A quark having a fractional electric charge of -1/3 and a mass about 80 to 130 MeV?. Symbol: s
string Tweet Definition of string Like Definition of string on Facebook
  1. (countable) A long, thin and flexible structure made from threads twisted together.
  2. (uncountable) Such a structure considered as a substance.
  3. (countable) Any long, thin and flexible object.
a violin
  1. (countable) A cohesive substance taking the form of a string.
The of spittle dangling from his chin was most unattractive
  1. (countable) A series of items or events.
a of successes
  1. (countable) (computer science) A sequence of characters stored consecutively in memory and capable of being processed as a single entity.
  2. (music, countable, usually in plural) A stringed instrument or the person playing that instrument.
verb (strings, stringing, strung)
  1. (transitive) To put (items) on a string.
You can string these beads on to this cord to make a colorful necklace
  1. (transitive) To put strings on (something).
It is difficult to string a tennis racket properly
stroboscope Tweet Definition of stroboscope Like Definition of stroboscope on Facebook
  1. Instrument for studying or observing periodic movement by rendering a moving body visible only at regular intervals.
  2. A lamp that produces short bursts of light that synchronizes with a camera shutter for photographing fast-moving objects; A photo made by such a machine.
subatomic Tweet Definition of subatomic Like Definition of subatomic on Facebook
  1. (physics) Relating to particles that are constituents of the atom, or are smaller than an atom; such as proton, neutron, electron, etc.
  2. Relating to any length or mass that is smaller in scale than a the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
The electron microscope is able to resolve detail at the level.
subshell Tweet Definition of subshell Like Definition of subshell on Facebook
  1. (chemistry),(physics) atomic orbital, Atomic orbitals for which the values of the n and l quantum numbers are the same, such as the three 2p or five 3d atomic orbitals.
subsonic Tweet Definition of subsonic Like Definition of subsonic on Facebook
  1. (context, of a sound) having a frequency too low to be audible
  2. (context, of a speed) less than the speed of sound (in the same medium, and at the same temperature and pressure)
supercharge Tweet Definition of supercharge Like Definition of supercharge on Facebook
verbto supercharge
  1. to increase the power of an internal combustion engine (either Otto or Diesel cycle) by compressing the inlet air with power extracted from the crankshaft.
  2. to make faster, more powerful.
superconductivity Tweet Definition of superconductivity Like Definition of superconductivity on Facebook
  1. (physics) The property of a material whereby it has no resistance to the flow of an electric current.
Currently, can only be achieved at extremely low temperatures.
supercritical Tweet Definition of supercritical Like Definition of supercritical on Facebook
  1. (physics) (of a gas) Above its critical temperature and critical pressure
  2. {aerodynamics} Above the speed of sound
    1. Above some other critical value or range
superfluid Tweet Definition of superfluid Like Definition of superfluid on Facebook
  1. (physics) A substance, such as liquid helium, that exhibits superfluidity
  1. of, pertaining to, or exhibiting superfluidity
supergravity Tweet Definition of supergravity Like Definition of supergravity on Facebook
  1. (physics) A field theory combining supersymmetry and general relativity.
supersonic Tweet Definition of supersonic Like Definition of supersonic on Facebook
  1. (context, of a sound) having a frequency too high to be audible
  2. (context, of a speed) greater than the speed of sound (in the same medium, and at the same temperature and pressure)
superstring Tweet Definition of superstring Like Definition of superstring on Facebook
noun (wikipedia, superstring theory)
  1. (physics) a hypothetical object consisting of a very small one-dimensional string that vibrates in ten (or more) dimensions
supersymmetry Tweet Definition of supersymmetry Like Definition of supersymmetry on Facebook
  1. (physics) A theory that attempts to unify the fundamental physical forces and which proposes a physical symmetry between bosons and fermions
surface tension Tweet Definition of surface tension Like Definition of surface tension on Facebook
  1. (physics) the effect on the surface of a liquid that makes it behave as a stretched elastic membrane; it is caused by unbalanced intermolecular forces
  2. (physics) a measure of this effect
sv Tweet Definition of sv Like Definition of sv on Facebook
abbreviations.v. or
  1. sub verbo, Sub verbo, Latin phrase meaning "under the word". Used in books, etc, to make reference to an entry in a dictionary or encyclopedia.
Transcendentalism is a recent school of philosophy (Some Dictionary of Philosophy, s.v., Transcendentalism (School)).
sweep Tweet Definition of sweep