noun, plural hertz, hertzes.
the standard unit of frequency in the International System of Units (SI), equal to one cycle per second. Abbreviation: Hz

1925–30; named after H. R. Hertz

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[hurts, hairts; German herts]
Gustav [goos-tahf] , 1887–1975, German physicist: Nobel Prize 1925.
Heinrich Rudolph [hahyn-rikh roo-dawlf] , 1857–94, German physicist.

Hertzian [hurt-see-uhn, hairt-] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
hertz (hɜːts)
n , pl hertz
Hz the derived SI unit of frequency; the frequency of a periodic phenomenon that has a periodic time of 1 second; 1 cycle per second
[C20: named after Heinrich Rudolph Hertz]

Hertz (hɜːts, German hɛrts)
1.  Gustav (ˈɡʊstaf). 1887--1975, German atomic physicist. He provided evidence for the quantum theory by his research with Franck on the effects produced by bombarding atoms with electrons: they shared the Nobel prize for physics (1925)
2.  Heinrich Rudolph (ˈhainrɪç ˈruːdɔlf). 1857--94, German physicist. He was the first to produce electromagnetic waves artificially

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Word Origin & History

unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second, 1928, named in reference to Ger. physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

hertz (hûrts)
n. pl. hertz
Abbr. Hz
A unit of frequency equal to 1 cycle per second.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
hertz   (hûrts)  Pronunciation Key 

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The SI derived unit used to measure the frequency of vibrations and waves, such as sound waves and electromagnetic waves. One hertz is equal to one cycle per second. The hertz is named after German physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
hertz [(hurts)]

The international unit of frequency: one cycle per second. The abbreviation for hertz is Hz.

Note: Household current in the United States is sixty hertz.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


unit of frequency. The number of hertz (abbreviated Hz) equals the number of cycles per second. The frequency of any phenomenon with regular periodic variations can be expressed in hertz, but the term is used most frequently in connection with alternating electric currents, electromagnetic waves (light, radar, etc.), and sound. It is part of the International System of Units (SI), which is based on the metric system. The term hertz was proposed in the early 1920s by German scientists to honour the 19th-century German physicist Heinrich Hertz. The unit was adopted in October 1933 by a committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission and is in widespread use today, although it has not entirely replaced the expression "cycles per second."

Learn more about hertz with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The students tested a range of frequencies from five to several hundred hertz.
The result runs at six hertz, about a millionth of the speed of a typical laptop computer.
It emits short bursts of light at frequencies sometimes reaching thousands of hertz.
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