noun Music.
(used with a singular verb) the science of musical sounds.
(used with a plural verb) the partials or overtones of a fundamental tone. Compare overtone ( def 1 ).
(used with a plural verb) the flageoletlike tones of a string, as a violin string, made to vibrate so as to bring out an overtone.

1700–10; see harmonic, -ics

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pertaining to harmony, as distinguished from melody and rhythm.
marked by harmony; in harmony; concordant; consonant.
Physics. of, pertaining to, or noting a series of oscillations in which each oscillation has a frequency that is an integral multiple of the same basic frequency.
(of a set of values) related in a manner analogous to the frequencies of tones that are consonant.
capable of being represented by sine and cosine functions.
(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

harmonically, adverb
harmonicalness, noun
nonharmonic, adjective
unharmonic, adjective
unharmonically, adverb
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
harmonic (hɑːˈmɒnɪk)
1.  of, involving, producing, or characterized by harmony; harmonious
2.  music of, relating to, or belonging to harmony
3.  maths
 a.  capable of expression in the form of sine and cosine functions
 b.  of or relating to numbers whose reciprocals form an arithmetic progression
4.  physics of or concerned with an oscillation that has a frequency that is an integral multiple of a fundamental frequency
5.  physics of or concerned with harmonics
6.  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
7.  music (not in technical use) overtone: in this case, the first overtone is the first harmonic, etc
[C16: from Latin harmonicus relating to harmony]

harmonics (hɑːˈmɒnɪks)
1.  (functioning as singular) the science of musical sounds and their acoustic properties
2.  (functioning as plural) See harmonic the overtones of a fundamental note, as produced by lightly touching the string of a stringed instrument at one of its node points while playing

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Word Origin & History

1530s (implied in harmonical), from L. harmonicus, from Gk. harmonikos "harmonic, musical," from harmonia (see harmony). First record of verb harmonize is from late 15c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
harmonic   (här-mŏn'ĭk)  Pronunciation Key 

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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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Example sentences
The second is a series of flutelike harmonics, which resonate high above the drone.
It contains a fundamental frequency wave, with harmonics superimposed upon it.
Two power quality issues are examined in this paper: harmonics and voltage regulation.
If these harmonics are not accounted for in power measurement, the result will be inaccurate.
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