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noun, plural quanta [kwon-tuh] .
quantity or amount: the least quantum of evidence.
a particular amount.
a share or portion.
a large quantity; bulk.
the smallest quantity of radiant energy, equal to Planck's constant times the frequency of the associated radiation.
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

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World English Dictionary
quanta (ˈkwɒntə)
the plural of quantum

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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1619, "one's share or portion," from L. quantum "how much," neut. sing. of quantus "how great" (see quantity). Introduced in physics by Max Planck, 1900; reinforced by Einstein, 1905. Quantum theory is from 1912; quantum mechanics, 1922; quantum jump is first recorded 1955; quantum leap, 1970.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
quantum   (kwŏn'təm)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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Example sentences
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.
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