follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma

quantum jump

noun
1.
Physics. an abrupt transition of a system described by quantum mechanics from one of its discrete states to another, as the fall of an electron in an atom to an orbit of lower energy.
2.
any sudden and significant change, advance, or increase.
Also called quantum leap.
Origin
1925-1930
1925-30
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for quantum leap

quantum leap

noun
1.
a sudden highly significant advance; breakthrough
Word Origin
C20: from its use in physics meaning the sudden jump of an electron, atom, etc from one energy level to another
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
Cite This Source
quantum leap in Science
quantum jump  
A change from one quantum state to another, as when an electron orbiting a nucleus moves from one shell to another with the loss or gain of a quantum of energy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
quantum leap in Culture

quantum leap definition


In physics, the movement of an electron from one orbit in an atom to another, sending out or taking on a photon in the process. (See Bohr atom.)

Note: Informally, a “quantum leap” may be any great, sudden, or discontinuous change.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with quantum leap
A dramatic advance, especially in knowledge or method, as in Establishing a central bank represents a quantum leap in this small country's development. This term originated as quantum jump in the mid-1900s in physics, where it denotes a sudden change from one energy state to another within an atom. Within a decade it was transferred to other advances, not necessarily sudden but very important ones.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for quantum jump

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for quantum

18
22
Scrabble Words With Friends