AskDefine | Define amplitude

Dictionary Definition



1 (physics) the maximum displacement of a periodic wave
2 the property of copious abundance [syn: bountifulness, bounty]
3 greatness of magnitude

User Contributed Dictionary

see Amplitude




  1. the measure of something's size; magnitude
  2. the maximum absolute value of the vertical component of a periodic curve
  3. the maximum absolute value of some quantity that varies periodically


  • Croatian: amplituda
  • Dutch: omvang
  • Norwegian: amplitude
  • Russian: полнота (polnotá) , широта (širotá)
  • Swedish: amplitud, magnitud
maximum absolute value
  • Croatian: amplituda
  • French: amplitude
  • German: Amplitude
  • Norwegian: amplitude
  • Russian: амплитуда
  • Swedish: amplitud
maximum absolute value
  • Croatian: amplituda
  • French: amplitude
  • German: Amplitude
  • Norwegian: amplitude
  • Russian: амплитуда
  • Swedish: amplitud



  1. amplitude


Extensive Definition

Amplitude is the magnitude of change in the oscillating variable, with each oscillation, within an oscillating system. For instance, sound waves are oscillations in atmospheric pressure and their amplitudes are proportional to the change in pressure during one oscillation. If a graph of the system is drawn with the oscillating variable as the vertical axis and time as the horizontal axis then the amplitude may be measured as the vertical distance between points on the curve.

Concepts of Amplitude

Peak Amplitude

Peak amplitude is measured between a peak and the rest position of the system. In many sciences this is called peak amplitude. In astronomy, when measuring the wobble of a body due to the gravitational influence of another body, it is called the semi-amplitude[1].

Peak-to-peak Amplitude

Peak-to-peak amplitude is to measure it between peak and trough. Peak-to-peak amplitudes can be measured by meters with appropriate circuitry, or by viewing the waveform on an oscilloscope.

Root Mean Square Amplitude

Root mean square(RMS) amplitude is used especially in electrical engineering: the RMS is defined as the square root of the mean over time of the square of the vertical distance of the graph from the rest state.

Ambiguity of Amplitude

The use of peak amplitude is simple and unambiguous for symmetric, periodic waves, like a sine wave, a square wave, or a triangular wave. For an asymmetric wave (periodic pulses in one direction, for example), the peak amplitude becomes ambiguous because the value obtained is different depending on whether the maximum positive signal is measured relative to the mean, the maximum negative signal is measured relative to the mean, or the maximum positive signal is measured relative the maximum negative signal (the peak-to-peak amplitude) and then divided by two.
For complex waveforms, especially non-repeating signals like noise, the RMS amplitude is usually used because it is unambiguous and because it has physical significance. For example, the average power transmitted by an acoustic or electromagnetic wave or by an electrical signal is proportional to the square of the RMS amplitude (and not, in general, to the square of the peak amplitude).
When dealing with alternating current electrical power it is universal to specify RMS values of a sinusoidal waveform. It is important to recognise that the peak-to-peak voltage is nearly 3 times the RMS value when assessing safety, specifying components, etc.

Pulse amplitude

In telecommunication, pulse amplitude is the magnitude of a pulse parameter, such as the field intensity, voltage level, current level, or power level.
Note 1: Pulse amplitude is measured with respect to a specified reference and therefore should be modified by qualifiers, such as "average", "instantaneous", "peak", or "root-mean-square."
Note 2: Pulse amplitude also applies to the amplitude of frequency- and phase-modulated waveform envelopes.

Amplitude in the Wave Equation

In the simple wave equation
x = A \sin(t - K) + b\ ,
A is the amplitude of the wave. Waves and hertz are used><

Units of Amplitude

The units of the amplitude depend on the type of wave.
For waves on a string, or in medium such as water, the amplitude is a displacement.
The amplitude of sound waves and audio signals (also referred to as Volume) conventionally refers to the amplitude of the air pressure in the wave, but sometimes the amplitude of the displacement (movements of the air or the diaphragm of a speaker) is described. The logarithm of the amplitude squared is usually quoted in dB, so a null amplitude corresponds to - dB. Loudness is related to amplitude and intensity and is one of most salient qualities of a sound, although in general sounds can be recognized independently of amplitude. The square of the amplitude is proportional to the intensity of the wave.
For electromagnetic radiation, the amplitude of a photon corresponds to the changes in the electric field of the wave. However radio signals may be carried by electromagnetic radiation; the intensity of the radiation (amplitude modulation) or the frequency of the radiation (frequency modulation) is oscillated and then the individual oscillations are varied (modulated) to produce the signal.

Wave Forms and Amplitude

The amplitude may be constant (in which case the wave is a continuous wave) or may vary with time and/or position. The form of the variation of amplitude is called the envelope of the wave.
If the waveform is a pure sine wave, the relationships between peak-to-peak, peak, mean, and RMS amplitudes are fixed and known, but this is not true for an arbitrary waveform which may or may not be periodic.
For a sine wave the relationship between RMS and peak-to-peak amplitude is: \mbox = 2 \sqrt \times \mbox \approx 2.8 \times \mbox. \,


[1]Exoplanets by Urial A. Goldvais downloaded 2008/03/31 from

See also

amplitude in Bulgarian: Амплитуда
amplitude in Catalan: Amplitud
amplitude in Czech: Amplituda
amplitude in Danish: Amplitude
amplitude in German: Amplitude
amplitude in Estonian: Amplituud
amplitude in Spanish: Amplitud (física)
amplitude in Esperanto: Amplitudo
amplitude in French: Amplitude
amplitude in Galician: Amplitude
amplitude in Korean: 진폭
amplitude in Croatian: Amplituda
amplitude in Ido: Amplitudo
amplitude in Indonesian: Amplitudo
amplitude in Italian: Ampiezza
amplitude in Hebrew: משרעת
amplitude in Latvian: Amplitūda
amplitude in Lithuanian: Amplitudė
amplitude in Malay (macrolanguage): Amplitud
amplitude in Dutch: Amplitude
amplitude in Japanese: 振幅
amplitude in Norwegian: Amplitude
amplitude in Norwegian Nynorsk: Amplitude
amplitude in Polish: Amplituda
amplitude in Portuguese: Amplitude
amplitude in Russian: Амплитуда
amplitude in Simple English: Amplitude
amplitude in Slovak: Amplitúda
amplitude in Slovenian: Amplituda
amplitude in Finnish: Amplitudi
amplitude in Swedish: Amplitud
amplitude in Vietnamese: Biên độ
amplitude in Ukrainian: Амплітуда
amplitude in Chinese: 振幅

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abundance, affluence, amount, ample sufficiency, ampleness, antinode, area, auditory effect, auditory phenomenon, avalanche, beam, bigness, body, bonanza, boundlessness, bountifulness, bountiousness, breadth, broadness, bulk, bumper crop, caliber, camber, capaciousness, capacity, cloud of words, commodiousness, comprehensiveness, congestion, copiousness, coverage, crest, de Broglie wave, depth, diameter, diffraction, diffuseness, diffusion, diffusiveness, dimension, dimensions, distance, distance across, effusion, effusiveness, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic wave, enormity, enormousness, expanse, expansion, expansiveness, extension, extensiveness, extent, extravagance, exuberance, fecundity, fertility, flight path, flood, flood tide, flow, fluency, foison, force, formidableness, formlessness, frequency, frequency band, frequency spectrum, full, full measure, fullness, gauge, generosity, generousness, gigantism, girth, grandeur, grandness, great abundance, great plenty, great scope, greatness, guided wave, gush, gushing, height, high tide, high water, hugeness, immensity, impletion, in phase, infinity, intensity, interference, landslide, largeness, latitude, lavishness, length, liberality, liberalness, light, logorrhea, longitudinal wave, lots, loudness, luxuriance, macrology, magnitude, mass, matter, maximum, measure, measurement, mechanical wave, might, mightiness, more than enough, much, muchness, myriad, myriads, node, noise, numbers, numerousness, opulence, opulency, out of phase, outpour, outpouring, overflow, overfullness, palilogy, period, periodic wave, phone, plenitude, plenteousness, plentifulness, plenty, pleonasm, plethora, power, prevalence, prodigality, prodigiousness, productiveness, productivity, profuseness, profusion, prolificacy, prolificity, proportion, proportions, quantities, quantity, quantum, radio wave, radius, rampancy, range, rankness, ray, reach, redundancy, reinforcement, reiteration, reiterativeness, repetition for effect, repetitiveness, repleteness, repletion, resonance, resonance frequency, rich harvest, rich vein, richness, riot, riotousness, roominess, satiety, saturation, saturation point, scads, scale, scope, seismic wave, shock wave, shower, size, skin effect, skin friction, slip, sonance, sound, sound intensity level, sound propagation, sound wave, space, spaciousness, span, spate, speech sound, spread, spring tide, stagger, stream, strength, stretch, stupendousness, substance, substantiality, substantialness, sum, superabundance, superfluity, superflux, surface wave, surfeit, talkativeness, tautology, teemingness, tidal wave, tirade, transverse wave, tremendousness, trough, ultrasound, vastness, volume, wave, wave equation, wave motion, wave number, wavelength, wealth, whole, wideness, width
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1