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[hahr-mon-ik] /hɑrˈmɒn ɪk/
pertaining to harmony, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
marked by harmony; in harmony; concordant; consonant.
Physics. of, relating to, or noting a series of oscillations in which each oscillation has a frequency that is an integral multiple of the same basic frequency.
  1. (of a set of values) related in a manner analogous to the frequencies of tones that are consonant.
  2. capable of being represented by sine and cosine functions.
  3. (of a function) satisfying the Laplace equation.
Music. overtone (def 1).
Physics. a single oscillation whose frequency is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency.
1560-70; < Latin harmonicus < Greek harmonikós musical, suitable. See harmony, -ic
Related forms
harmonically, adverb
harmonicalness, noun
nonharmonic, adjective
unharmonic, adjective
unharmonically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for harmonic
  • But the frequencies have a special harmonic relationship, which is why you hear it as a single sound with a single pitch.
  • See:The formulation of harmonic quintessence and a fundamental energy equivalence equation.
  • The study of harmonic and melodic sound is difficult and worthwhile.
  • The formulation of harmonic quintessence and a fundamental energy equivalence equation.
  • In our music, accompaniment to singing does not mean a harmonic background to vocal melody, but a partnership in patterns.
  • For the musician there has been a phenomenal advance beyond the rigid rhythmic and harmonic limitations of the older music.
  • One of the first systems anybody studies is the simple harmonic oscillator, which is the height of simplicity and elegance.
  • And the movement of the cloud back and forth is a harmonic oscillator.
  • Melodic momentum, in other words, was made to express the harmonic changes going on beneath it.
  • The use of the harmonic generator scalpel greatly reduces the damage to patient tissue during surgery.
British Dictionary definitions for harmonic


of, involving, producing, or characterized by harmony; harmonious
(music) of, relating to, or belonging to harmony
  1. capable of expression in the form of sine and cosine functions
  2. of or relating to numbers whose reciprocals form an arithmetic progression
(physics) of or concerned with an oscillation that has a frequency that is an integral multiple of a fundamental frequency
(physics) of or concerned with harmonics
(physics, music) a component of a periodic quantity, such as a musical tone, with a frequency that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency. The first harmonic is the fundamental, the second harmonic (twice the fundamental frequency) is the first overtone, the third harmonic (three times the fundamental frequency) is the second overtone, etc
(music) (not in technical use) overtone: in this case, the first overtone is the first harmonic, etc
See also harmonics
Derived Forms
harmonically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin harmonicus relating to harmony
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for harmonic

1560s, "relating to music;" earlier (c.1500) armonical "tuneful, harmonious," from Latin harmonicus, from Greek harmonikos "harmonic, musical, skilled in music," from harmonia (see harmony). Meaning "relating to harmony" is from 1660s. The noun, short for harmionic tone, is recorded from 1777.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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harmonic in Science

Noun  Periodic motion whose frequency is a whole-number multiple of some fundamental frequency. The motion of objects or substances that vibrate or oscillate in a regular fashion, such as the strings of musical instruments, can be analyzed as a combination of a fundamental frequency and higher harmonics. ◇ Harmonics above the first harmonic (the fundamental frequency) in sound waves are called overtones. The first overtone is the second harmonic, the second overtone is the third harmonic, and so on.

Adjective  Related to or having the properties of such periodic motion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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