|—n , pl -ta|
|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]|
quantum quan·tum (kwŏn'təm)
n. pl. quan·ta (-tə)
The smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, especially a discrete quantity of electromagnetic radiation.
This amount of energy regarded as a unit.
A quantity or an amount.
|quantum (kwŏn'təm) Pronunciation Key
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.