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wave ( noun ) Definition: a disturbance that carries energy through a medium, such as air or water. Example: The surfer rode the wave all the way to the shore.


pulse ( noun ) Definition: a single disturbance or vibration that travels through a medium. Example: I could feel my pulse quicken as I ran.


oscillate ( verb ) Definition: to move back and forth in a regular pattern. Example: The pendulum on the clock oscillated from side to side.


wavelength ( noun ) Definition: the distance between two corresponding points on a wave, such as from crest to crest or trough to trough. Example: The wavelength of the sound wave determined its pitch.

transverse wave

transverse wave ( noun ) Definition: a type of wave in which the particles vibrate perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation. Example: Light waves are an example of transverse waves because the particles vibrate up and down while the wave moves forward.


crest ( noun ) Definition: the highest point of a wave. Example: The surfer rode the wave until it reached its crest.


trough ( noun ) Definition: the lowest point of a wave. Example: The boat dipped into the trough of the wave before rising again.


amplitude ( noun ) Definition: the maximum displacement or distance that a particle moves from its normal position when a wave passes through. Example: The larger the amplitude of a sound wave, the louder it will be.


equilibrium ( noun ) Definition: a state of balance or stability. Example: The tightrope walker managed to maintain his equilibrium and successfully crossed the rope.


frequency ( noun ) Definition: the number of complete waves that pass a certain point in a given amount of time. Example: The frequency of the radio waves determined the station we were able to tune into.

wave speed

wave speed ( noun ) Definition: the speed at which a wave travels through a medium. Example: The wave speed of light is much faster than the wave speed of sound.

longitudinal wave

longitudinal wave ( noun ) Definition: a type of wave where the particles move back and forth parallel to the direction the wave is traveling. Example: Sound waves are examples of longitudinal waves.


rarefaction ( noun ) Definition: a region in a longitudinal wave where the particles are spread apart. Example: In a sound wave, the rarefaction is the part where the particles are less compressed.


compressions ( noun ) Definition: regions of high pressure in a longitudinal wave Example: The compressions in the slinky moved along.


medium ( noun ) Definition: a substance or environment in which something exists or operates Example: Sound waves travel through a medium, such as air or water.

mechanical wave

mechanical wave ( noun ) Definition: a wave that requires a medium, such as air or water, to travel through. Example: Sound waves are mechanical waves because they need a medium, like air, to move through.


pitch ( noun ) Definition: how high or low a sound is perceived to be. Example: The pitch of the singer's voice was so high that only dogs could hear it.


volume ( noun ) Definition: the loudness or softness of a sound. Example: She turned up the volume on the stereo to enjoy her favorite song.

sound wave

sound wave ( noun ) Definition: a type of mechanical wave that is created by vibrations and can be heard by humans. Example: When you speak, your voice creates sound waves that travel to the ears of others.

Doppler Effect

Doppler effect ( noun ) Definition: the change in frequency or pitch of a sound wave due to the motion of the source or the listener. Example: The Doppler effect explains why a siren sounds higher pitched as an ambulance approaches and lower pitched as it moves away.

electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation ( noun ) Definition: the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or a material medium. Example: The sun emits electromagnetic radiation, which provides heat and light to the Earth.


Reflection ( noun ) Definition: the bouncing back of light waves when they hit a surface, such as a mirror or water. Example: When you look in a mirror, you see your reflection because the light waves bounce off the mirror's surface and into your eyes.


vacuum ( noun ) Definition: a space that is completely empty of matter, including air and other gases. Example: In outer space, there is no air or atmosphere, so it is considered a vacuum.

electromagnetic wave

electromagnetic wave ( noun ) Definition: a type of wave that consists of changing electric and magnetic fields and can travel through a vacuum or a medium. Example: Electromagnetic waves, such as radio waves and X-rays, are used for various purposes in technology and medicine.

Duality of light

Duality of light ( noun ) Definition: the idea that light can behave as both a wave and a particle. Example: The duality of light means that it can act like a wave when it spreads out, but also like a particle when it interacts with matter.

electromagnetic spectrum

Electromagnetic spectrum ( noun ) Definition: the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, including radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light, ultraviolet waves, X-rays, and gamma rays. Example: The electromagnetic spectrum includes all the different types of waves that make up light and other forms of radiation.

long wavelength

long wavelength ( noun ) Definition: a type of light wave that has a greater distance between each wave crest characterized by low frequency and energy. Example: Radio waves have long wavelengths, which allow them to travel long distances and pass through obstacles.

short wavelength

short wavelength ( noun ) Definition: a type of light wave that has a smaller distance between each wave crest characterized by high frequency and energy. Example: X-rays have short wavelengths, which allow them to penetrate through objects and create detailed images.


Hertz ( noun ) Definition: a unit of measurement used to describe the frequency of waves, including light waves. Example: The frequency of radio waves is measured in hertz, with AM radio stations typically broadcasting at frequencies around 1,000 hertz.

Photoelectric Effect

Photoelectric effect ( noun ) Definition: the phenomenon where light causes electrons to be emitted from a material, often used in solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. Example: The photoelectric effect allows solar panels to generate electricity by converting sunlight into usable energy.

visible light

Visible light ( noun ) Definition: the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes can detect, which includes all the colors we can see. Example: Rainbows are formed when visible light is refracted and reflected by water droplets in the air, creating a beautiful display of colors.

Speed of light

Speed of light ( noun ) Definition: the fastest speed at which light can travel, which is about 299,792 kilometers per second. Example: The speed of light is so fast that it can go around the Earth 7.5 times in just one second.

ultraviolet waves

Ultraviolet waves ( noun ) Definition: a type of electromagnetic wave with shorter wavelengths than visible light, often associated with the sun's rays and used in sterilization and tanning. Example: Exposure to ultraviolet waves from the sun can cause sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer.

gamma rays

Gamma Rays ( noun ) Definition: a type of electromagnetic wave with the shortest wavelengths and highest energy, often produced during nuclear reactions and used in cancer treatment. Example: Gamma rays are used in radiation therapy to target and destroy cancer cells.

radio waves

Radio waves ( noun ) Definition: a type of electromagnetic wave with long wavelengths, commonly used for communication and broadcasting. Example: Radio waves are used to transmit signals for AM and FM radio stations, allowing us to listen to music and news.


Microwaves ( noun ) Definition: a type of electromagnetic wave with shorter wavelengths than radio waves, often used for cooking and communication. Example: Microwaves are used in microwave ovens to heat and cook food quickly and efficiently.

x- rays

X-rays ( noun ) Definition: a type of electromagnetic wave with very short wavelengths, often used in medical imaging to see inside the body. Example: X-rays are commonly used by dentists to take images of teeth and by doctors to diagnose broken bones.

infrared waves

Infrared waves ( noun ) Definition: a type of electromagnetic wave with longer wavelengths than visible light, often used for thermal imaging and remote controls. Example: Infrared waves are used in night vision goggles to detect heat signatures and in TV remote controls to change channels.


Color ( noun ) Definition: the visual perception of different wavelengths of light, resulting in various shades and hues. Example: The color of an object depends on the wavelengths of light that it reflects or absorbs.


Refraction ( noun ) Definition: the bending of light waves as they pass from one medium to another, such as from air to water. Example: When a straw appears bent in a glass of water, it is due to the refraction of light waves as they pass from the water into the air.