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 Dictionary entry overview: What does physics mean? 

PHYSICS (noun)
  The noun PHYSICS has 1 sense:

1. the science of matter and energy and their interactions

  Familiarity information: PHYSICS used as a noun is very rare.

 Dictionary entry details 

PHYSICS (noun)

Sense 1physics [BACK TO TOP]


The science of matter and energy and their interactions

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents


natural philosophy; physical science; physics

Hypernyms ("physics" is a kind of...):

natural science (the sciences involved in the study of the physical world and its phenomena)

Domain member category:

transform (convert (one form of energy) to another)

transform (increase or decrease (an alternating current or voltage))

backscatter (scatter (radiation) by the atoms of the medium through which it passes)

deceleration ((physics) a rate of decrease in velocity)

acceleration ((physics) a rate of increase of velocity)

molecule ((physics and chemistry) the simplest structural unit of an element or compound)

atom ((physics and chemistry) the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element)

absorber ((physics) material in a nuclear reactor that absorbs radiation)

freeze; freeze down; freeze out (change from a liquid to a solid when cold)

disintegrate (cause to undergo fission or lose particles)

solidify (make solid or more solid; cause to solidify)

solidify (become solid)

liquefy; liquidise; liquidize; liquify (make (a solid substance) liquid, as by heating)

flux; liquefy; liquify (become liquid or fluid when heated)

decay; decompose; disintegrate (lose a stored charge, magnetic flux, or current)

quench (reduce the degree of (luminescence or phosphorescence) in (excited molecules or a material) by adding a suitable substance)

degauss; demagnetise; demagnetize (make nonmagnetic; take away the magnetic properties (of))

magnetise; magnetize (make magnetic)

ground state ((physics) the lowest energy state of an atom or other particle)

angle of dip; dip; inclination; magnetic dip; magnetic inclination ((physics) the angle that a magnetic needle makes with the plane of the horizon)

pencil (a figure formed by a set of straight lines or light rays meeting at a point)

absorption ((physics) the process in which incident radiated energy is retained without reflection or transmission on passing through a medium)

weak force; weak interaction ((physics) an interaction between elementary particles involving neutrinos or antineutrinos that is responsible for certain kinds of radioactive decay; mediated by intermediate vector bosons)

color force; strong force; strong interaction ((physics) the interaction that binds protons and neutrons together in the nuclei of atoms; mediated by gluons)

fundamental interaction; interaction ((physics) the transfer of energy between elementary particles or between an elementary particle and a field or between fields; mediated by gauge bosons)

strain ((physics) deformation of a physical body under the action of applied forces)

tension ((physics) a stress that produces an elongation of an elastic physical body)

stress ((physics) force that produces strain on a physical body)

shear ((physics) a deformation of an object in which parallel planes remain parallel but are shifted in a direction parallel to themselves)

diffusion ((physics) the process of diffusing; the intermingling of molecules in gases and liquids as a result of random thermal agitation)

nuclear reaction ((physics) a process that alters the energy or structure or composition of atomic nuclei)

abundance ((physics) the ratio of the number of atoms of a specific isotope of an element to the total number of isotopes present)

metric; metric function (a function of a topological space that gives, for any two points in the space, a value equal to the distance between them)

constant of gravitation; G; gravitational constant; universal gravitational constant ((physics) the universal constant relating force to mass and distance in Newton's law of gravitation)

gas constant; R; universal gas constant ((physics) the universal constant in the gas equation: pressure times volume = R times temperature; equal to 8.3143 joules per kelvin per mole)

coefficient of elasticity; elastic modulus; modulus of elasticity ((physics) the ratio of the applied stress to the change in shape of an elastic body)

modulus ((physics) a coefficient that expresses how much of a specified property is possessed by a specified substance)

spallation ((physics) a nuclear reaction in which a bombarded nucleus breaks up into many particles)

relaxation; relaxation behavior ((physics) the exponential return of a system to equilibrium after a disturbance)

scintillation ((physics) a flash of light that is produced in a phosphor when it absorbs a photon or ionizing particle)

crystalise; crystalize; crystallise; crystallize (cause to form crystals or assume crystalline form)

hyperfine (extremely fine or thin, as in a spectral line split into two or more components)

unreactive (not reacting chemically)

activated; excited ((of e.g. a molecule) made reactive or more reactive)

reactive (participating readily in reactions)

electroneutral; neutral (having no net electric charge; not electrified)

aeolotropic; eolotropic (having properties with different values along different axes)

identical (having properties with uniform values along all axes)

bound (held with another element, substance or material in chemical or physical union)

relativistic (relating or subject to the special or the general theory of relativity)

fiducial (used as a fixed standard of reference for comparison or measurement)

mesic; mesonic (of or pertaining to a meson)

rheologic; rheological (of or relating to rheology)

aerodynamic (of or relating to aerodynamics)

hydrodynamic (of or relating to hydrodynamics)

dynamic (of or relating to dynamics)

quantal; quantized (of or relating to a quantum or capable of existing in only one of two states)

metastable ((of physical systems) continuing in its present state of equilibrium unless sufficiently disturbed to pass to a more stable state of equilibrium)

nuclear (of or relating to or constituting the nucleus of an atom)

free (unconstrained or not chemically bound in a molecule or not fixed and capable of relatively unrestricted motion)

nonfissionable (not capable of undergoing fission)

attractive; magnetic (having the properties of a magnet; the ability to draw or pull)

translate (subject to movement in which every part of the body moves parallel to and the same distance as every other point on the body)

induce; induct (produce electric current by electrostatic or magnetic processes)

quantise; quantize (apply quantum theory to; restrict the number of possible values of (a quantity) or states of (a physical entity or system) so that certain variables can assume only certain discrete magnitudes that are integral multiples of a common factor)

depolarise; depolarize (eliminate the polarization of)

electrify (charge (a conductor) with electricity)

polarise; polarize (cause to vibrate in a definite pattern)

decouple (eliminate airborne shock waves from (an explosive))

repulsive (possessing the ability to repel)

reversible (capable of assuming or producing either of two states)

fissile; fissionable (capable of undergoing nuclear fission)

viscoelastic (having viscous as well as elastic properties)

adiabatic (occurring without loss or gain of heat)

diabatic (involving a transfer of heat)

noncritical (not critical; not at a point of abrupt change)

critical (at or of a point at which a property or phenomenon suffers an abrupt change especially having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction)

immiscible; non-miscible; unmixable ((chemistry, physics) incapable of mixing)

miscible; mixable ((chemistry, physics) capable of being mixed)

reversibly (in a reversible manner)

phase space ((physics) an ideal space in which the coordinate dimensions represent the variables that are required to describe a system or substance)

mass-energy equivalence ((physics) the principle that a measured quantity of mass is equivalent (according to relativity theory) to a measured quantity of energy)

law of thermodynamics ((physics) a law governing the relations between states of energy in a closed system)

law of gravitation; Newton's law of gravitation ((physics) the law that states any two bodies attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them)

Kirchhoff's laws ((physics) two laws governing electric networks in which steady currents flow: the sum of all the currents at a point is zero and the sum of the voltage gains and drops around any closed circuit is zero)

Hooke's law ((physics) the principle that (within the elastic limit) the stress applied to a solid is proportional to the strain produced)

Charles's law; Gay-Lussac's law; law of volumes ((physics) the density of an ideal gas at constant pressure varies inversely with the temperature)

Fermi-Dirac statistics ((physics) law obeyed by a systems of particles whose wave function changes when two particles are interchanged (the Pauli exclusion principle applies))

Boltzmann distribution law; Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution law ((physics) a law expressing the distribution of energy among the molecules of a gas in thermal equilibrium)

Planck's law ((physics) the basis of quantum theory; the energy of electromagnetic waves is contained in indivisible quanta that have to be radiated or absorbed as a whole; the magnitude is proportional to frequency where the constant of proportionality is give by Planck's constant)

Planck's radiation law ((physics) an equation that expresses the distribution of energy in the radiated spectrum of an ideal black body)

undulatory theory; wave theory; wave theory of light ((physics) the theory that light is transmitted as waves)

conservation of parity; mirror symmetry; parity; space-reflection symmetry ((physics) parity is conserved in a universe in which the laws of physics are the same in a right-handed system of coordinates as in a left-handed system)

conservation ((physics) the maintenance of a certain quantities unchanged during chemical reactions or physical transformations)

Bohr theory ((physics) a theory of atomic structure that combined Rutherford's model with the quantum theory; electrons orbiting a nucleus can only be in certain stationary energy states and light is emitted when electrons jump from one energy state to another)

field theory ((physics) a theory that explains a physical phenomenon in terms of a field and the manner in which it interacts with matter or with other fields)

principle of equivalence ((physics) the principle that an observer has no way of distinguishing whether his laboratory is in a uniform gravitational field or is in an accelerated frame of reference)

principle of relativity ((physics) a universal law that states that the laws of mechanics are not affected by a uniform rectilinear motion of the system of coordinates to which they are referred)

gravitational theory; Newton's theory of gravitation; theory of gravitation; theory of gravity ((physics) the theory that any two particles of matter attract one another with a force directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them)

Dalton's law; Dalton's law of partial pressures; law of partial pressures ((chemistry and physics) law stating that the pressure exerted by a mixture of gases equals the sum of the partial pressures of the gases in the mixture; the pressure of a gas in a mixture equals the pressure it would exert if it occupied the same volume alone at the same temperature)

Bose-Einstein statistics ((physics) statistical law obeyed by a system of particles whose wave function is not changed when two particles are interchanged (the Pauli exclusion principle does not apply))

duality; wave-particle duality ((physics) the property of matter and electromagnetic radiation that is characterized by the fact that some properties can be explained best by wave theory and others by particle theory)

isotropy; symmetry ((physics) the property of being isotropic; having the same value when measured in different directions)

metastability (the quality of a physical system that persists in its existing equilibrium when undisturbed (or only slightly disturbed) but able to pass to a more stable equilibrium when sufficiently disturbed)

nuclear reactor; reactor ((physics) any of several kinds of apparatus that maintain and control a nuclear reaction for the production of energy or artificial elements)

meniscus ((physics) the curved upper surface of a nonturbulent liquid in a vertical tube)

magnet ((physics) a device that attracts iron and produces a magnetic field)

hodoscope ((physics) scientific instrument that traces the path of a charged particle)

containment ((physics) a system designed to prevent the accidental release of radioactive material from a reactor)

absorption factor; absorptivity ((physics) the property of a body that determines the fraction of the incident radiation or sound flux absorbed or absorbable by the body)

reluctivity ((physics) the resistance of a material to the establishment of a magnetic field in it)

attracter; attractor ((physics) a point in the ideal multidimensional phase space that is used to describe a system toward which the system tends to evolve regardless of the starting conditions of the system)

quantum ((physics) the smallest discrete quantity of some physical property that a system can possess (according to quantum theory))

flux; flux density ((physics) the number of changes in energy flow across a given surface per unit area)

mass energy ((physics) the mass of a body regarded relativistically as energy)

inertial mass ((physics) the mass of a body as determined by the second law of motion from the acceleration of the body when it is subjected to a force that is not due to gravity)

gravitational mass ((physics) the mass of a body as measured by its gravitational attraction for other bodies)

relativistic mass ((physics) the mass of a body in motion relative to the observer: it is equal to the rest mass multiplied by a factor that is greater than 1 and that increases as the magnitude of the velocity increases)

rest mass ((physics) the mass of a body as measured when the body is at rest relative to an observer, an inherent property of the body)

corpuscular theory; corpuscular theory of light ((physics) the theory that light is transmitted as a stream of particles)

kinetic theory; kinetic theory of gases ((physics) a theory that gases consist of small particles in random motion)

cohesion ((physics) the intermolecular force that holds together the molecules in a solid or liquid)

atomic spectrum ((physics) a spectrum of radiation caused by electron transitions within an atom; the series of spectrum lines is characteristic of the element)

perturbation ((physics) a secondary influence on a system that causes it to deviate slightly)

Coriolis effect ((physics) an effect whereby a body moving in a rotating frame of reference experiences the Coriolis force acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation; on Earth the Coriolis effect deflects moving bodies to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere)

physicist (a scientist trained in physics)

weakly interacting massive particle; WIMP (a hypothetical subatomic particle of large mass that interacts weakly with ordinary matter through gravitation; postulated as a constituent of the dark matter of the universe)

quark ((physics) hypothetical truly fundamental particle in mesons and baryons; there are supposed to be six flavors of quarks (and their antiquarks), which come in pairs; each has an electric charge of +2/3 or -1/3)

elementary particle; fundamental particle ((physics) a particle that is less complex than an atom; regarded as constituents of all matter)

Coriolis force ((physics) a force due to the earth's rotation; acts on a body in motion (airplane or projectile) in a rotating reference frame; in a rotating frame of reference Newton's second law of motion can be made to apply if in addition to the real forces acting on a body a Coriolis force and a centrifugal force are introduced)

energy ((physics) the capacity of a physical system to do work; the units of energy are joules or ergs)

magnetic dipole moment ((physics) a current loop gives rise to a magnetic field characteristic of a magnetic dipole)

sympathetic vibration ((physics) vibration produced by resonance)

light; visible light; visible radiation ((physics) electromagnetic radiation that can produce a visual sensation)

inertia ((physics) the tendency of a body to maintain is state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force)

gravitation; gravitational attraction; gravitational force; gravity ((physics) the force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface)

force ((physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity)

work ((physics) a manifestation of energy; the transfer of energy from one physical system to another expressed as the product of a force and the distance through which it moves a body in the direction of that force)

power ((physics) the rate of doing work; measured in watts (= joules/second))

couple ((physics) something joined by two equal and opposite forces that act along parallel lines)

wave front; wavefront ((physics) an imaginary surface joining all points in space that are reached at the same instant by a wave propagating through a medium)

oscillation; vibration ((physics) a regular periodic variation in value about a mean)

gravitation wave; gravity wave ((physics) a wave that is hypothesized to propagate gravity and to travel at the speed of light)

collision; hit ((physics) an brief event in which two or more bodies come together)

chaos ((physics) a dynamical system that is extremely sensitive to its initial conditions)

dynamical system ((physics) a phase space together with a transformation of that space)

quantum theory ((physics) a physical theory that certain properties occur only in discrete amounts (quanta))

supersymmetry ((physics) a theory that tries to link the four fundamental forces)

Einstein's theory of relativity; relativity; relativity theory; theory of relativity ((physics) the theory that space and time are relative concepts rather than absolute concepts)

undulation; wave ((physics) a movement up and down or back and forth)

solitary wave; soliton; soliton wave ((physics) a quantum of energy or quasiparticle that can be propagated as a traveling wave in nonlinear systems and is neither preceded nor followed by another such disturbance; does not obey the superposition principle and does not dissipate)

center of buoyancy; center of immersion; centre of buoyancy; centre of immersion ((physics) the center of mass of the immersed part of ship or other floating object)

antinode ((physics) the point of maximum displacement in a periodic system)

node ((physics) the point of minimum displacement in a periodic system)

amplitude ((physics) the maximum displacement of a periodic wave)

transmutation ((physics) the change of one chemical element into another (as by nuclear decay or radioactive bombardment))

recombination ((physics) a combining of charges or transfer of electrons in a gas that results in the neutralization of ions; important for ions arising from the passage of high-energy particles)

quantum jump ((physics) an abrupt transition of an electron or atom or molecule from one quantum state to another with the emission or absorption of a quantum)

transient ((physics) a short-lived oscillation in a system caused by a sudden change of voltage or current or load)

reluctance ((physics) opposition to magnetic flux (analogous to electric resistance))

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "physics"):

acoustics (the study of the physical properties of sound)

statistical mechanics (the branch of physics that makes theoretical predictions about the behavior of macroscopic systems on the basis of statistical laws governing its component particles)

solid-state physics (the branch of physics that studies the properties of materials in the solid state: electrical conduction in crystals of semiconductors and metals; superconductivity; photoconductivity)

rheology (the branch of physics that studies the deformation and flow of matter)

quantum physics (the branch of physics based on quantum theory)

plasma physics (the branch of physics concerned with matter in its plasma phase)

high energy physics; high-energy physics; particle physics (the branch of physics that studies subatomic particles and their interactions)

optics (the branch of physics that studies the physical properties of light)

atomic physics; nuclear physics; nucleonics (the branch of physics that studies the internal structure of atomic nuclei)

mechanics (the branch of physics concerned with the motion of bodies in a frame of reference)

electrostatics (the branch of physics that deals with static electricity)

electronics (the branch of physics that deals with the emission and effects of electrons and with the use of electronic devices)

electromagnetics; electromagnetism (the branch of physics concerned with electromagnetic phenomena)

crystallography (the branch of science that studies the formation and structure of crystals)

cryogenics; cryogeny (the branch of physics that studies the phenomena that occur at very low temperatures)

biophysics (physics as applied to biological problems)

aeronautics; astronautics (the theory and practice of navigation through air or space)

astronomy; uranology (the branch of physics that studies celestial bodies and the universe as a whole)

thermodynamics (the branch of physics concerned with the conversion of different forms of energy)

Domain member category:

chaotic (of or relating to a sensitive dependence on initial conditions)

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