quantum leap

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:
1925–30

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To quantum leap
Collins
World English Dictionary
quantum leap or quantum jump
 
n
a sudden highly significant advance; breakthrough
 
[C20: from its use in physics meaning the sudden jump of an electron, atom, etc from one energy level to another]
 
quantum jump or quantum jump
 
n
 
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
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
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature