Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Greatness of rank or position: "such duties as were expected of a landowner of his magnitude” ( Anthony Powell).
  • n. Greatness in size or extent: The magnitude of the flood was impossible to comprehend.
  • n. Greatness in significance or influence: was shocked by the magnitude of the crisis.
  • n. Astronomy The degree of brightness of a celestial body designated on a numerical scale, on which the brightest star has magnitude -1.4 and the faintest visible star has magnitude 6, with the scale rule such that a decrease of one unit represents an increase in apparent brightness by a factor of 2.512. Also called apparent magnitude.
  • n. Mathematics A number assigned to a quantity so that it may be compared with other quantities.
  • n. Mathematics A property that can be described by a real number, such as the volume of a sphere or the length of a vector.
  • n. Geology A measure of the amount of energy released by an earthquake, as indicated on the Richter Scale.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The absolute or relative size, extent or importance of something.
  • n. An order of magnitude.
  • n. A number, assigned to something, such that it may be compared to others numerically
  • n. Of a vector, the norm, most commonly, the two-norm.
  • n. The apparent brightness of a star (on a negative, logarithmic scale); apparent magnitude
  • n. A measure of the energy released by an earthquake (e.g. on the Richter scale).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Extent of dimensions; size; -- applied to things that have length, breadth, and thickness.
  • n. That which has one or more of the three dimensions, length, breadth, and thickness.
  • n. Anything of which greater or less can be predicated, as time, weight, force, and the like.
  • n. Greatness; grandeur.
  • n. Greatness, in reference to influence or effect; importance.
  • n. See magnitude of a star, below.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Greatness; vastness, whether in a physical or a moral sense; grandeur.
  • n. Largeness of relation or significance; importance; consequence: as, in affairs of magnitude disdain not to take counsel.
  • n. Size, or the property of having size; the extended quantity of a line, surface, or solid; length, area, or volume.
  • n. Any kind of continuous quantity which is comparable with extended quantity.
  • n. In astronomy, the brightness of a star expressed according to the numerical system used by astronomers for that purpose.
  • n. In ancient prosody, the length of a syllable, foot, colon, or meter, expressed in terms of the metrical unit (primary time, semeion, or mora): as, a foot of trisemic magnitude; a colon of icosasemic magnitude.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the property of relative size or extent (whether large or small)
  • n. a number assigned to the ratio of two quantities; two quantities are of the same order of magnitude if one is less than 10 times as large as the other; the number of magnitudes that the quantities differ is specified to within a power of 10
  • n. relative importance

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, size, from Latin magnitūdō, greatness, size, from magnus, great.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin magnitūdō ("greatness, size"); magni- + -itude (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "Panathinaikos FC - No game due to a Madonna concert on their home ground.
    Henk ten Cate (manager): 'I would have preferred to have played next week, but I guess Madonna's magnitude surpasses that of Panathinaikos.'"
    - 'Derby dates yield contrasting fortunes', uefa.com, 29 September 2008.

    September 29, 2008