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[kwon-tuh] /ˈkwɒn tə/
plural of quantum.


[kwon-tuh m] /ˈkwɒn təm/
noun, plural quanta
[kwon-tuh] /ˈkwɒn tə/ (Show IPA)
quantity or amount:
the least quantum of evidence.
a particular amount.
a share or portion.
a large quantity; bulk.
  1. the smallest quantity of radiant energy, equal to Planck's constant times the frequency of the associated radiation.
  2. the fundamental unit of a quantized physical magnitude, as angular momentum.
sudden and significant:
a quantum increase in productivity.
1610-20; noun use of neuter of Latin quantus how much Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for quanta
  • There is no poof-existence from the micro or quanta to the macro or universe.
  • Light consists of discrete units, or quanta, of energy known as photons.
  • And the same is about light quanta and another particles.
  • Holistic property is the result of never ending entanglement of all totality of quanta present in information space.
  • No such thing exists, neither in the smallest known quanta, nor the visible universe.
  • It uses photons, the quanta of electromagnetic energy, to send the key undetectably.
  • Sound quanta are called phonons, and atoms absorb and release them.
  • But how probable is it that it really is warped space-time without quanta, and the other three do.
  • It's shown that entanglement can work on objects larger than quanta.
  • In other words, the physical difference between the color categories is much clearer than their ancestral quanta.
British Dictionary definitions for quanta


the plural of quantum


noun (pl) -ta (-tə)
  1. the smallest quantity of some physical property, such as energy, that a system can possess according to the quantum theory
  2. a particle with such a unit of energy
amount or quantity, esp a specific amount
(often used with a negative) the least possible amount that can suffice: there is not a quantum of evidence for your accusation
something that can be quantified or measured
(modifier) loosely, sudden, spectacular, or vitally important: a quantum improvement
Word Origin
C17: from Latin quantus (adj) how much
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 quanta



1610s, "one's share or portion," from Latin quantum (plural quanta) "as much as, so much as; how much? how far? how great an extent?" neuter singular of correlative pronomial adjective quantus "as much" (see quantity). Introduced in physics directly from Latin by Max Planck, 1900; reinforced by Einstein, 1905. Quantum theory is from 1912; quantum mechanics, 1922; quantum jump is first recorded 1954; quantum leap, 1963, often figurative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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quanta in Medicine

quantum quan·tum (kwŏn'təm)
n. pl. quan·ta (-tə)

  1. The smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, especially a discrete quantity of electromagnetic radiation.

  2. This amount of energy regarded as a unit.

  3. A quantity or an amount.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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quanta in Science
Plural quanta
A discrete, indivisible manifestation of a physical property, such as a force or angular momentum. Some quanta take the form of elementary particles; for example, the quantum of electromagnetic radiation is the photon, while the quanta of the weak force are the W and Z particles. See also quantum state.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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quanta in Culture
quanta [(kwahn-tuh)]

sing. quantum

In physics, discrete bundles in which radiation and other forms of energy occur. For example, in the Bohr atom, light is sent out in quanta called photons. (See quantum mechanics.)

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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