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[band-width, -with] /ˈbændˌwɪdθ, -ˌwɪθ/
Telecommunications. the smallest range of frequencies constituting a band, within which a particular signal can be transmitted without distortion.
Digital Technology. the transmission capacity of an electronic communications device or system; the speed of data transfer:
a high-bandwidth Internet connection.
mental capacity; intelligence:
Don't listen to him—he has really low bandwidth.
a person's capacity to handle or think about more than one thing at the same time:
He doesn't have the bandwidth to make those kinds of decisions.
Origin of bandwidth
1925-30; band2 + width Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bandwidth
  • All of these mega-trends consume enormous amounts of bandwidth.
  • Movie downloads have been bandwidth killers on many campus networks for a few years now.
  • Both stations are leaving some amount of bandwidth on the table.
  • Open-mesh allows you to restrict the amount of your bandwidth available to your neighbors.
  • The days of all-you-can-eat bandwidth appear to be numbered.
  • No matter how much bandwidth is installed, it will be consumed.
  • We spend a lot of time and bandwidth using client apps and closed platforms.
  • But there are many ways to measure the bandwidth wealth of nations.
  • Officials believe faster bandwidth could mean more information transported in real time.
  • Second, the biggest block of bandwidth to be sold comes with novel conditions attached.
British Dictionary definitions for bandwidth


the range of frequencies within a given waveband used for a particular transmission
the range of frequencies over which a receiver or amplifier should not differ by more than a specified amount
the range of frequencies used in a specific telecommunications signal
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 bandwidth

1930, in electronics, from band (n.1) + width.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bandwidth in Science
  (bānd'wĭdth', -wĭth')   
  1. The numerical difference between the upper and lower frequencies of a band of electromagnetic radiation, especially an assigned range of radio frequencies.

  2. The amount of data that can be passed along a communications channel in a given period of time. For analog devices, such as standard telephones, bandwith is the range of frequencies that can be transmitted and is expressed in hertz (cycles per second). For digital devices, bandwidth is measured in bits per second. The wider the bandwidth, the faster data can be sent.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bandwidth in Culture

bandwidth definition

The amount of data that can be carried by a digital communication medium, often expressed in hertz.

Note: Within the radio and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum limited bandwidth is available, and in the United States the use of the spectrum is regulated and allocated by the FCC. (See VHF and UHF.)
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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bandwidth in Technology

The difference between the highest and lowest frequencies of a transmission channel (the width of its allocated band of frequencies).
The term is often used erroneously to mean data rate or capacity - the amount of data that is, or can be, sent through a given communications circuit per second.
[How is data capacity related to bandwidth?]
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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