Definitions

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

  • n. A quantity, such as mass, length, or speed, that is completely specified by its magnitude and has no direction.
  • n. Mathematics A number, numerical quantity, or element in a field.
  • n. A device that yields an output equal to the input multiplied by a constant, as in a linear amplifier.
  • adj. Of or relating to a scalar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having magnitude but not direction
  • adj. Of, or relating to scale
  • n. A quantity that has magnitude but not direction; compare vector
  • n. An amplifier whose output is a constant multiple of its input

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. In the quaternion analysis, a quantity that has magnitude, but not direction; -- distinguished from a vector, which has both magnitude and direction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In quaternions, a real number, positive or negative, integral, fractional, or surd: but some writers lately extend the meaning so as to include imaginaries.
  • Of the nature of a scalar.
  • n. In physics, a quantity, such as mass or volume, which has magnitude but not direction.

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

  • adj. of or relating to a directionless magnitude (such as mass or speed etc.) that is completely specified by its magnitude
  • adj. of or relating to a musical scale
  • n. a variable quantity that cannot be resolved into components

Etymologies

Latin scālāris, of a ladder, from scālae, ladder; see scale2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin scālāris, adjectival form from scāla ("a flight of steps, stairs, staircase, ladder, scale"), for *scadla, from scandere ("to climb"); compare scale. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The cult leader warns that her followers will make and defend themselves with what she calls scalar electromagnetic weapons if they are attacked, just as Aum defended itself when it was threatened.

    Pana Wave Cult Raises Concern Among Japanese Authorities

  • The triple product is sometimes called the scalar triple product to distinguish it from the vector triple product

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • This is related to Grice's first maxim of quantity ( "Make your contribution as informative as required") and is held responsible for the inference of so-called scalar implicatures, among others.

    Pragmatics

  • Mass, electric charge, temperature, have the same symmetry, of a type called scalar, that of the sphere.

    Pierre Curie

  • Electromagnetic waves which exist only in the vacuum of empty space constitute an ocean of infinite energy called scalar energy.

    The Times of India

  • If you remember your math (and even if you don't), a scalar is a plain, simple, one-dimensional value.

    Dev Shed - RSS Feeds

  • In Perl, a scalar is the fundamental, basic unit of data of which there are two kinds-numbers and strings.

    Dev Shed - RSS Feeds

  • Arithmetic types, enumeration types, pointer types, and pointer to member types are collectively called scalar types.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

  • J-coupling, also known as scalar coupling, is due to the interaction between different nuclei in the same molecule that is mediated through electrons in chemical bonds

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • Scalar Subqueries in SQLA subquery that returns exactly one column value from one row is also referred to as a scalar subquery.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • (BTW, check out the clouds showing Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in the visuals.)

    August 29, 2011

  • "2. In quaternions, a real number, positive or negative, integral, fractional, or surd: but some writers lately extend the meaning so as to include imaginaries. Sir W. R. Hamilton introduced the word with the meaning “a real number”; and it tends to confuse the subject to use a word needed for one purpose to signify something else for which no new word is needed." -- Cent. Dict.

    August 29, 2011