Definition of prism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprɪz(ə)m/


Image of prism
1 Geometry A solid geometric figure whose two ends are similar, equal, and parallel rectilinear figures, and whose sides are parallelograms.
Example sentences
  • Volumes of solids such as prisms, pyramids, tetrahedrons, wedges, cylinders and truncated cones are calculated.
  • He goes on to consider solid geometry giving results on prisms, cylinders, and spheres.
  • We will show that the area of this ring is equal to the area of the corresponding cross section of the dome, which implies that the dome and the punctured prism have equal volumes.
1.1 Optics A glass or other transparent object in the form of a prism, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other and that separates white light into a spectrum of colours.
Example sentences
  • Newton applied the Method of Analysis to induce the explanatory principle that sunlight comprises rays of differing colours, and that each colour is refracted by the prism through a characteristic angle.
  • When he passed a thin beam of sunlight through a glass prism Newton noted the spectrum of colours that was formed.
  • According to Blondlot, a narrow stream of N-rays was refracted through the prism and produced a spectrum on a field.


Late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek prisma 'thing sawn', from prizein 'to saw'.

Words that rhyme with prism

abysm, arrivisme, chrism, chrisom, ism, schism

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: prism

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