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diffusion Line breaks: dif|fu¦sion
Pronunciation: /dɪˈfjuːʒ(ə)n/

Definition of diffusion in English:


[mass noun]
1The spreading of something more widely: the rapid diffusion of ideas and technology
More example sentences
  • Through these, new subject matter and models were widely disseminated, with diffusion into book illumination and sculpture.
  • But diffusion of ideas does not mean they are implemented; it only means they are talked about.
  • Some skeptics have dismissed this diffusion of democratic ideas as ‘Westernization’ pure and simple.
1.1The action of spreading the light from a light source evenly to reduce glare and harsh shadows.
Example sentences
  • Some parts are painted white to assist with light diffusion, but the essential texture and character of the material is still legible.
  • The beach seemed to shine in the moonlight; the water sparkled, reflecting the light in diffusion.
  • Screen shots show the use of the curve, light diffusion and terracing to invite the player.
1.2 Physics The intermingling of substances by the natural movement of their particles: the rate of diffusion of a gas
More example sentences
  • Examples include the distribution of counterions on DNA, micelles, polymer diffusion, and liquid mixtures.
  • Respiratory function tests generally show a persistent slight-to-moderate hypoxemia and a reduction of carbon monoxide diffusion.
  • The difference could be attributed to errors on cell counts, natural variability, gas diffusion through tissue of intact pears, and other factors.
1.3 Anthropology The dissemination of elements of culture to another region or people.
Example sentences
  • He accounts for this by cultural diffusion: any development which might have enabled one of the civilizations to forge ahead was borrowed and adopted by the other civilizations.
  • According to world culture theorists, the diffusion took place in three phases.
  • The cities he founded became the spring boards for the diffusion of Hellenistic culture.


noun ( Anthropology )
Example sentences
  • Intellectually this was a muddle, from ‘diffusionism’ to ‘cultural adaptation to environments’ to ‘post-processual’ symbolic interpretations.
  • Without reliving the controversy of the last few decades, it is safe to say that the accurate and devastating criticisms leveled by him against cultural diffusionism and migration theory have not been completely answered.
  • One of the most interesting points to emerge is a recognition that with hindsight, European radicalism has once again written itself as a form of diffusionism, its sources and impetuses exclusive unto itself.
adjective& noun ( Anthropology )
Example sentences
  • It implied a diffusionist view of history whereby high civilization was brought from the Fertile Crescent and then made its way down to the Lower Nile Valley by white or near-whites of the Caucasian family.
  • Nonetheless, conceptions of Australian science have largely remained bound by the top-down perspective assumed by the diffusionist model.
  • Her theories are reminiscent of the diffusionist theories that argue that Native Americans were descended from the lost tribes of Israel, the Welsh, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and/or the Chinese.
Pronunciation: /dɪˈfjuːsɪv/
adjective ( Physics )
Example sentences
  • The barrier to penetration in this case is reactive rather than physical: the rate of deactivation of the antimicrobial exceeds the rate of diffusive penetration.
  • Other interactions may also play a role, but our data are consistent with the simple picture that nucleosomal motion leads to more flexibility in the chromatin fibers and thus more diffusive motion.
  • The diffusive hindrance data combined with imaging of the gels and permeability measurements suggest that unassembled collagen in the void spaces of the gel plays a role in hindering diffusion.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'pouring out, effusion'): from Latin diffusio(n-), from diffundere 'pour out'.

Words that rhyme with diffusion

allusion, collusion, conclusion, confusion, contusion, delusion, effusion, exclusion, extrusion, fusion, illusion, inclusion, interfusion, intrusion, obtrusion, occlusion, preclusion, profusion, prolusion, protrusion, reclusion, seclusion, suffusion, transfusion
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