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[an-ahy-suh-trop-ik, -troh-pik, an-ahy-] /ænˌaɪ səˈtrɒp ɪk, -ˈtroʊ pɪk, ˌæn aɪ-/
Physics. of unequal physical properties along different axes.
Compare isotropic (def 1).
Botany. of different dimensions along different axes.
1875-80; an-1 + isotropic
Related forms
anisotropically, adverb
[an-ahy-so-truh-pee] /ˌæn aɪˈsɒ trə pi/ (Show IPA),
anisotropism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for anisotropy


/ænˌaɪsəʊˈtrɒpɪk; ˌænaɪ-/
not isotropic; having different physical properties in different directions: anisotropic crystals
(of a plant) responding unequally to an external stimulus in different parts of the plant
Derived Forms
anisotropically, adverb
anisotropy (ˌænaɪˈsɒtrəpɪ) noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anisotropy



1854; see an- (1) "not" + isotropic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anisotropy in Medicine

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
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anisotropy in Science
  (ān-ī'sə-trō'pĭk, -trŏp'ĭk, ān'ī-)   
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for anisotropy

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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