Definition of frequency in English:



  • 1The rate at which something occurs or is repeated over a particular period of time or in a given sample.

    ‘shops have closed with increasing frequency during the period’
    • ‘Poch and Mannering found that the presence of a sight-distance restriction was found to significantly increase accident frequency.’
    • ‘Now, scoring regularly for Wimbledon and playing with increasing frequency for Ireland, he may fulfil the potential he showed as a teenager.’
    • ‘Rest periods and frequency should be the same as those for increasing muscular strength.’
    • ‘Many scientists believe that the recent increase in hurricane frequency and intensity is due to global warming, which has raised sea temperatures.’
    • ‘The floods which have devastated York with increasing frequency in recent years have traditionally been blamed on the rain - too much falling, too often.’
    • ‘Over time, symptomatic periods may increase in frequency and severity.’
    • ‘The next goal is to increase frequency, particularly at peak periods.’
    • ‘Headaches are common during childhood and become more common and increase in frequency during adolescence.’
    • ‘Service south of Franklin will run at reduced frequency during that six-hour period.’
    • ‘These days they meet with increasing frequency.’
    • ‘The forecast is optimistic because of the expansion of the company's operations, increasing the flight frequency and the launch of new routes.’
    • ‘As they moved, droplets of rain began to strike with ever increasing frequency.’
    • ‘Therefore, these mutations would not increase in frequency in the population.’
    • ‘The frequency of landslides has increased in recent years with major slides occurring in 1993, 1995 and 2002.’
    • ‘They recorded whether patients ever committed physical attacks during the observation period, but frequency and severity of violence were not recorded.’
    • ‘In fact in the first four weeks of December road traffic offences generally increased in frequency.’
    • ‘An allele that provides better immunity against parasites will increase in frequency within a population.’
    • ‘Be even more wary if you are given a treatment plan that recommends daily visits that are gradually reduced in frequency over a period of several months.’
    • ‘Those attacks may increase, both in frequency and intensity.’
    • ‘Alcohol may trigger attacks during the period headaches occur, so avoidance of all alcohol during these periods will reduce headache frequency.’
    1. 1.1The fact of being frequent or happening often.
      • ‘Only 52 per cent actually test their contingency plans with any frequency.’
      • ‘As most people are aware, this happens with almost reliable frequency in Namibia.’
      • ‘Although such things do happen with too great frequency, cases of ‘benign neglect’ are far more common.’
      • ‘The fact that it happened with apparent frequency seems like an important detail on many levels.’
      • ‘Now they're trying to work out something where it won't happen with any kind of frequency.’
      • ‘I took a few courses on statistics and understand how these things can happen, though they seemed to happen with such frequency that it seemed uncanny.’
      • ‘Secondly, and this happens with remarkable frequency, notwithstanding all the technology at his disposal, the video referee can get it wrong!’
      • ‘There are incidents where water supply may be affected for half an hour to an hour, but that is negligible as such incidents are of less frequency.’
      • ‘It is interesting to ask, ‘why are these attacks happening with such frequency now?’’
      • ‘Yet it happens with terrible frequency, even thought it is a total ‘no no’.’
      • ‘These things seem to happen with alarming frequency these days.’
      • ‘But this has happened with enough frequency to blow away my disbelief.’
      • ‘Financial crises occur with frightening frequency.’
      • ‘That happens with great frequency in the system.’
      • ‘It happened with such frequency that the assistant referee seemed to get confused and gave some close decisions against Bafana.’
      • ‘Laws changed with bewildering frequency, creating temporary advantages for people quick enough to spot them and draining wealth from the slow or unlucky.’
      • ‘I was sitting around dwelling on how sad it is when it occurred to me that these small plane crashes happen with numbing frequency.’
      • ‘They wouldn't be miracles if they happened with reliable frequency.’
      • ‘I wish I could say that this was an isolated occurrence, but it seems to happen with distressing frequency.’
      • ‘Kids getting born covered in hair happens with some frequency, but they tend to shed it off pretty soon.’
      rate of occurrence, commonness, frequentness, prevalence, incidence, amount
      rate of repetition, recurrence, repetition, persistence, regularity
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Statistics The ratio of the number of actual to possible occurrences of an event.
      • ‘We also plot the ratio of observed-to-expected frequency for each interval.’
      • ‘The aim of induction is to find series of events whose frequency of occurrence converges toward a limit.’
      • ‘Bird occurrence data were summarized as frequency of occurrence of bird species in each category of observation, by type of observation period.’
      • ‘The bar graphs represent the ratios of the frequency of individual events in the mutants relative to that of wild-type cells.’
      • ‘Adverse events reported with the frequency of 10% or more at 6 months are listed in Table 3.’
    3. 1.3Statistics The (relative) number of times something occurs in a given sample.
      • ‘The relative frequency of individual display types is described below after the display descriptions.’
      • ‘The frequency of respiring colonies relative to viable colonies was determined after growth at 30° for 3 days.’
      • ‘Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance.’
      • ‘Relative basal area, relative frequency and relative density were used to calculate tree canopy importance values.’
      • ‘At the population level, offspring sex ratio did not appear to be adjusted in response to the relative frequency of adult males or females in the breeding population.’
  • 2The rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material (as in sound waves), or in an electromagnetic field (as in radio waves and light), usually measured per second.

    • ‘This can be induced by a microwave field with a frequency that corresponds to the transition between the two lowest atomic states.’
    • ‘The frequency of this vibration is a function of the cut and shape of the crystal.’
    • ‘Thus, in order to calculate the vibrational frequencies and the rotational constants of a molecule all that is is needed is the input.’
    • ‘The Doppler effect is a change in the frequency of sound waves caused by moving objects.’
    • ‘The electromagnetic spectrum describes all matter as wave frequencies.’
    • ‘When the radio-wave frequency causing proton excitation is removed, the protons relax and return to their steady-state orientation.’
    • ‘Now, physicists in England have demonstrated a topsy-turvy Doppler shift in which a radio wave's frequency rises as the source recedes.’
    • ‘Whether this interference delays or advances the phase of the waves depends on the properties of the atom and the frequency of the wave.’
    • ‘A trifield meter measures the electromagnetic frequency in the space around it.’
    • ‘The frequency of light emitted from atoms in an excited state is measured in emission spectroscopy.’
    • ‘We hear different sounds because of variations in the sound wave frequency.’
    • ‘If ten waves are made per second, then the frequency is said to be ten cycles per second, written as 10 cps.’
    • ‘The answer, Zuckerwar explains, is that each one generates silent infrasound - long sound waves at a frequency below 20 hertz.’
    • ‘Newton concluded that these forms of light vibrate at different frequencies.’
    • ‘Because laser light is made up of identical waves of the same frequency, it can travel long distances without scattering.’
    • ‘The frequency of gamma rays is far too high and that of radio waves is far too low to interact with these kinds of vibrations.’
    • ‘That is, an infrared spectrum is a plot of the intensity of light absorbed as a function of the frequency of vibration.’
    • ‘Thus de Broglie supposed that matter might also be related to the frequency of waves.’
    • ‘We know that electrons in any molecule can only absorb radiation at certain frequencies.’
    • ‘Crucially, this also changes the frequency of the radio waves needed to flip the nucleus.’
    1. 2.1The particular waveband at which a radio station or other system broadcasts or transmits signals.
      • ‘Suppose an FM radio station is assigned the broadcast frequency 100 MHz.’
      • ‘He turned around and adjusted the frequency on his portable radio.’
      • ‘When you enter a road, you set your radio to the assigned frequency and monitor the traffic.’
      • ‘Pulses represent any celestial radio signal of a fixed frequency that is distinguishable above the background noise.’
      • ‘One radio was tuned to the tanker-control frequency and the other radio directly to the tanker.’
      • ‘This is a measure of how well the antenna will ‘pull in’ a signal at a specific frequency.’
      • ‘Transmitting on the frequency 100.9, the station devotes 60 per cent of its airtime to programmes in Tonga while the rest are in English.’
      • ‘After 147 minutes, scientists detected a 20Hz shift in the frequency of the carrier signal, indicating, perhaps, that the probe had landed.’
      • ‘Prior to the establishment of the FCC, anybody with an antenna could send a radio signal on any frequency.’
      • ‘What started with two women has grown to a network of six women who keep at least two radios on the same frequency at night.’
      • ‘Finally, he tuned his suit's radio to the frequency listed on the cover of the transmitter.’
      • ‘In addition, Moore said, several group leaders were communicating by radio on a frequency the LAPD could monitor.’
      • ‘All FM radio stations transmit in a band of frequencies between 88 megahertz and 108 megahertz.’
      • ‘In full-duplex radio, the two transmitters use different frequencies, so both parties can talk at the same time.’
      • ‘Radio waves have different frequencies, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency you can pick up a specific signal.’
      • ‘A carrier signal is a continuous signal of a fixed frequency.’
      • ‘This is due in part to the fact that VOA is broadcast only on short-wave frequencies.’
      • ‘New technology is allowing radio stations to offer digital and analog signals on the same frequency.’
      • ‘Or we can listen to them through radio transmission on a special frequency that's unique for each airport.’
      • ‘In short, it plugs into a headphones jack and transmits the signal over an FM frequency you choose.’


Mid 16th century (gradually superseding late Middle English frequence; originally denoting a gathering of people): from Latin frequentia, from frequens, frequent- crowded, frequent.