[an-ahy-suh-trop-ik, -troh-pik, an-ahy-]
Physics. of unequal physical properties along different axes. Compare isotropic ( def 1 ).
Botany. of different dimensions along different axes.

1875–80; an-1 + isotropic

anisotropically, adverb
anisotropy [an-ahy-so-truh-pee] , anisotropism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
anisotropic (ænˌaɪsəʊˈtrɒpɪk, ˌænaɪ-)
1.  not isotropic; having different physical properties in different directions: anisotropic crystals
2.  (of a plant) responding unequally to an external stimulus in different parts of the plant

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Word Origin & History

1879, a compound variously explained as formed from Gk. anisos "unequal" (from an- "not" + iso- "equal") + tropikos "belonging to a turning," from tropos "a turning" (see trope), or as an- "not" + isotropic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

anisotropic an·i·so·trop·ic (ān-ī'sə-trŏp'ĭk, -trō'pĭk)

  1. Not isotropic.

  2. Having physical properties that differ according to the direction of measurement.

an·i'so·trop'i·cal·ly adv.
an'i·sot'ro·pism (-sŏt'rə-pĭz'əm) or an'i·sot'ro·py (-sŏt'rə-pē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
anisotropic   (ān-ī'sə-trō'pĭk, -trŏp'ĭk, ān'ī-)  Pronunciation Key 
Differing according to orientation, as light scattered by a liquid crystal; light striking the liquid crystal's surface at a 90° angle might not be reflected (so the surface appears dark when viewed head-on), while light striking it at shallower angles is reflected (so the surface appears illuminated when viewed from a shallow angle). Compare isotropic.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in physics, the quality of exhibiting properties with different values when measured along axes in different directions. Anisotropy is most easily observed in single crystals of solid elements or compounds, in which atoms, ions, or molecules are arranged in regular lattices. In contrast, the random distribution of particles in liquids, and especially in gases, causes them rarely, if ever, to be anisotropic.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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