• (RP) IPA: /ˈkwɒntəm/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈkwɑntəm/
    • (America, CA) IPA: [ˈkʰwɑn.tʰəm], [ˈkwɑɾ̃əm]

quantum (plural quanta)

  1. (now chiefly South Asia) The total amount of something; quantity. [from 17th c.]
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 416:
      The reader will perhaps be curious to know the quantum of this present, but we cannot satisfy his curiosity.
    • 1790, Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, Oxford 2009, p. 142:
      A certain quantum of power must always exist in the community, in some hands, and under some appellation.
    • 1997, Kiran Nagarkar, Cuckold, HarperCollins 2013, p. 375:
      Otherwise I will have given the lie to my maxim that whether you work eight or twenty hours, the quantum of work that gets done on a normal day is the same.
    • 2008, The Times of India, 21 May 2008, :
      The Congress's core ministerial panel on Friday gave its green signal to raising motor fuel prices but the quantum of increase emerged as a hitch.
  2. The amount or quantity observably present, or available. [from 18th c.]
    • 1979, John Le Carré, Smiley's People, Folio Society 2010, p. 96:
      Each man has only a quantum of compassion, he argued, and mine is used up for the day.
    • 1999, Joyce Crick, translating Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Oxford 2008, p. 34:
      The dream of flying, according to Strümpell, is the appropriate image used by the psyche to interpret the quantum of stimulus transterm Reizquantum proceeding from the rise and fall of the lungs when the cutaneous sensation of the thorax has simultaneously sunk into unconsciousness.
  3. (physics) The smallest possible, and therefore indivisible, unit of a given quantity or quantifiable phenomenon. [from 20th c.]
    • 2002, David C Cassidy et al., Understanding Physics, Birkhauser 2002, p. 602:
      The quantum of light energy was later called a photon.
  4. (math) A definite portion of a manifoldness, limited by a mark or by a boundary.
  5. (legal) A brief document provided by the judge, elaborating on a sentencing decision.
  6. (computing) The amount of time allocated for a thread to perform its work in a multithreaded environment.
Related terms Translations Translations Adjective

quantum (not comparable)

  1. Of a change, sudden or discrete, without intermediate stages.
  2. (informal) Of a change, significant.
  3. (physics) Involving quanta, quantum mechanics or other aspects of quantum physics.
  4. (computing theory) Relating to a quantum computer.
  • Russian: значи́тельный

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