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[gam-uh] /ˈgæm ə/
the third letter of the Greek alphabet (Γ, γ).
the consonant sound represented by this letter.
the third in a series of items.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. a star that is usually the third brightest of a constellation:
The third brightest star in the Southern Cross is Gamma Crucis.
a unit of weight equal to one microgram.
Physics. a unit of magnetic field strength, equal to 10− 5 gauss.
Photography. a measure of the degree of development of a negative or print.
Television. an analogous numerical indication of the degree of contrast between light and dark in the reproduction of an image in television.
Chiefly British. a grade showing that an individual student is in the third, or lowest, of three scholastic sections in a class.
Compare alpha (def 7), beta (def 8).
< Greek gámma Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gamma
  • The gamma radiation was so weak that it could be stopped by a sheet of paper.
  • Then radiation polymerization, grafting, and crosslinking by e-beam or gamma sterilization.
  • Globulins are roughly divided into three groups: alpha, beta, and gamma globulins.
  • The gamma knife uses gamma rays that are sent from multiple points to converge at a single point on the tumor.
  • Exposure from x-rays or gamma rays is measured in units of roentgens.
  • The health care provider will inject a radioactive chemical called a gamma emitting tracer into a vein.
  • Intravenous gamma globulin is the standard treatment.
  • From that day on, his hair had grown in white as a result of the gamma radiation.
  • OK, so there's no such thing as a gamma ray machine that zaps scientists and turns them into giant green monsters.
  • But then strange things started popping up in laboratories: x-rays, gamma rays, a mysterious phenomenon called radioactivity.
British Dictionary definitions for gamma


the third letter in the Greek alphabet (Γ, γ), a consonant, transliterated as g. When double, it is transcribed and pronounced as ng
the third highest grade or mark, as in an examination
a unit of magnetic field strength equal to 10–5 oersted. 1 gamma is equivalent to 0.795 775 × 10–3 ampere per metre
(photog, television) the numerical value of the slope of the characteristic curve of a photographic emulsion or television camera; a measure of the contrast reproduced in a photographic or television image
  1. involving or relating to photons of very high energy: a gamma detector
  2. relating to one of two or more allotropes or crystal structures of a solid: gamma iron
  3. relating to one of two or more isomeric forms of a chemical compound, esp one in which a group is attached to the carbon atom next but one to the atom to which the principal group is attached
Word Origin
C14: from Greek; related to Hebrew gīmel third letter of the Hebrew alphabet (probably: camel)


(foll by the genitive case of a specified constellation) the third brightest star in a constellation: Gamma Leonis
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 gamma

third letter of the Greek alphabet, c.1400, from Greek gamma, from Phoenician gimel, literally "camel" (see camel); so called for a fancied resemblance of its shape to some part of a camel. Gamma rays (1903) originally were thought to be a third type of radiation, now known to be identical with very short X-rays.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gamma in Medicine

gamma gam·ma (gām'ə)

  1. Symbol γ The third letter of the Greek alphabet.

  2. The third item in a series or system of classification.

  3. The third position from a designated carbon atom in an organic molecule at which an atom or a radical may be substituted.

  4. A unit of magnetic field strength equal to one hundred thousandth (10-5) of an oersted.

  5. A unit of mass equal to one millionth (10-6) of a gram.

  1. Relating to or being the atom or radical group that is in the third position relative to the functional group of atoms in an organic molecule.

  2. Relating to or characterizing a polypeptide chain that is one of five types of heavy chains that may be present in immunoglobins.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gamma in Technology

1. A language for matrices and generation of mathematical programming reports.
["GAMMA 3.3 for MPS/MPSX, IBM System:/360", Bonnor & Moore Assocs (Mar 1975)].
2. A high-level parallel language.
[Research Directions in High-Level Parallel Languages, LeMetayer ed, Springer 1992].

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