prism

[priz-uhm]
noun
1.
Optics. a transparent solid body, often having triangular bases, used for dispersing light into a spectrum or for reflecting rays of light.
2.
Geometry. a solid having bases or ends that are parallel, congruent polygons and sides that are parallelograms.
3.
Crystallography. a form having faces parallel to the vertical axis and intersecting the horizontal axes.

Origin:
1560–70; < Late Latin prīsma < Greek prîsma literally, something sawed, akin to prī́zein to saw, prīstēs sawyer

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World English Dictionary
prism (ˈprɪzəm)
 
n
1.  a transparent polygonal solid, often having triangular ends and rectangular sides, for dispersing light into a spectrum or for reflecting and deviating light. They are used in spectroscopes, binoculars, periscopes, etc
2.  a form of crystal with faces parallel to the vertical axis
3.  maths a polyhedron having parallel, polygonal, and congruent bases and sides that are parallelograms
 
[C16: from Medieval Latin prisma, from Greek: something shaped by sawing, from prizein to saw]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

prism
1570, a type of solid figure, from L.L. prisma (Martianus Capella), from Gk. prisma (Euclid), lit. "something sawed," from prizein "to saw." Meaning in optics is first attested 1612.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

prism (prĭz'əm)
n.

  1. A solid figure whose bases or ends have the same size and shape and are parallel to one another, and each of whose sides is a parallelogram.

  2. A transparent body of this form, often of glass and usually with triangular ends, used for separating white light passed through it into a spectrum or for reflecting beams of light.

  3. Such a body used in testing or correcting imbalance of the extrinsic ocular muscles.


pris·mat'ic (-māt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
prism   (prĭz'əm)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A geometric solid whose bases are congruent polygons lying in parallel planes and whose sides are parallelograms.

  2. A solid of this type, often made of glass with triangular ends, used to disperse light and break it up into a spectrum.

  3. A crystal form having 3, 4, 6, 8, or 12 faces parallel to the vertical axis and intersecting the horizontal axis.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
prism [(priz-uhm)]

A solid figure in geometry with bases or ends of the same size and shape and sides that have parallel edges. Also, an object that has this shape.

Note: A prism of glass (or a similar transparent material) can be used to bend different wavelengths of light by different amounts through refraction. This bending separates a beam of white light into a spectrum of colored light.
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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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

PRISM definition


A distributed logic language.
["PRISM: A Parallel Inference System for Problem Solving", S. Kasif et al, Proc 1983 Logic Prog Workshop, pp. 123-152].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
But the researchers found that a prism with three faces spins even faster when
  dropped.
In essence, a new rainbow of physics emerges by shining old physics through a
  musical prism.
They reflect the full range of emotions, made more vibrant and poignant through
  the prism of warfare.
Newton uses a prism to demonstrate that white light can be broken down into a
  spectrum of colors.
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