Definition of magnetism in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmaɡnətɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
1A physical phenomenon produced by the motion of electric charge, which results in attractive and repulsive forces between objects.
Example sentences
  • Relativity would arrive, not from concerns over the flaws in Newton's mechanics, but rather from contemplating the forces of electricity and magnetism as well as the mysteries of light.
  • Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, for example, united the previously disjointed phenomena of electricity and magnetism.
  • In 1820 the Danish physicist H C Orsted produced experimental results on electricity and magnetism.

All magnetism is due to circulating electric currents. In magnetic materials the magnetism is produced by electrons orbiting within the atoms; in most substances the magnetic effects of different electrons cancel each other out, but in some, such as iron, a net magnetic field can be induced by aligning the atoms.

2The ability to attract and charm people: his personal magnetism attracted men to the brotherhood
More example sentences
  • Jacques-Louis Lions was a man of considerable personal magnetism and charm, whose charisma, brilliance as a teacher, and accessibility attracted other to work with him.
  • Professor Krebs's brilliant mind and personal magnetism have attracted numerous students to his laboratory.
  • I stood transfixed, staring as he glowed with magnetism and enchanted charm.


Early 17th century: from modern Latin magnetismus, from Latin magneta (see magnet).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mag¦net|ism

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.