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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. See also apparent magnitude, absolute magnitude.
- see first.
late Middle English (also in the sense 'greatness of character'): from Latin magnitudo, from magnus 'great'