Share this entry

Maxwell's demon Line breaks: Maxwell's demon

Definition of Maxwell's demon in English:


A hypothetical being imagined as controlling a hole in a partition dividing a gas-filled container into two parts, and allowing only fast-moving molecules to pass in one direction, and slow-moving molecules in the other. This would result in one side of the container becoming warmer and the other colder, in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.


Late 19th century: named after J. C. Maxwell (see Maxwell, James Clerk).

Definition of Maxwell's demon in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...