Definition of magnetism in US English:



  • 1A physical phenomenon produced by the motion of electric charge, resulting in attractive and repulsive forces between objects.

    All magnetism is due to circulating electric currents. In magnetic materials the magnetism is produced by electrons orbiting within the atoms; in most substances the magnetic effects of different electrons cancel each other out, but in some, such as iron, a net magnetic field can be induced by aligning the atoms

    • ‘Ampère proposed electrical currents in atoms to explain magnetism and Poisson showed how electrostatic induction could be explained by assuming atomic dipoles.’
    • ‘This work by Thomson in 1856 on electricity and magnetism is important for it was these ideas which led Maxwell to develop his remarkable new theory of electromagnetism.’
    • ‘Relativity would arrive, not from concerns over the flaws in Newton's mechanics, but rather from contemplating the forces of electricity and magnetism as well as the mysteries of light.’
    • ‘In conventional magnets, magnetism is the result of electron spins lining up.’
    • ‘Isaac Newton had described gravity 200 years earlier; James Maxwell had explained the phenomena of electricity and magnetism with his equations in 1873.’
    • ‘Studying the interrelation of electricity and magnetism, Faraday struggled to explain how forces could act at a distance.’
    • ‘Research into the apparently unrelated field of electricity and magnetism produced a startling confirmation of the wave theory of light.’
    • ‘In many ways, dragging is to gravity what magnetism is to electricity.’
    • ‘When Faraday worked out electricity and magnetism he set into motion the electric age.’
    • ‘Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, for example, united the previously disjointed phenomena of electricity and magnetism.’
    • ‘That same year, 1600, De Magnete was published, and was quickly accepted as the standard work on magnetism and electrical phenomena throughout Europe.’
    • ‘Maxwell's theoretical unification of electricity and magnetism was engineered into the modern human power to communicate across space at the speed of light.’
    • ‘In 1821, Hans Oersted demonstrated that electricity and magnetism were interrelated.’
    • ‘This force includes the magnetic effects of moving charges and underlies such everyday forces as friction and magnetism.’
    • ‘People with pacemakers and defibrillators who use arc welding devices and other kinds of heavy energy that involve magnetism or electricity tend to have problems.’
    • ‘In 1820 the Danish physicist H C Orsted produced experimental results on electricity and magnetism.’
    • ‘The grand aim of De Magnete - to take magnetism beyond the simple use of the compass to find north - was not as successful as Gilbert and Wright had hoped.’
    • ‘Other images also surfaced from the Dance Lab experiments, including the opposing forces of magnetism and repulsion.’
    • ‘I mentioned to him that Einstein was very struck as a young high school student by Maxwell's equations, the laws of electricity and magnetism, and that they made a very deep impression on him.’
    • ‘The force of magnetism, or magnetic field, is much stronger at the magnet poles than around the equator.’
  • 2The ability to attract and charm people.

    ‘his personal magnetism attracted men to the brotherhood’
    • ‘Jacques-Louis Lions was a man of considerable personal magnetism and charm, whose charisma, brilliance as a teacher, and accessibility attracted other to work with him.’
    • ‘With personal magnetism, only healthy, confident and successful people with be drawn to you and engage themselves in your life.’
    • ‘With three years of top training that included practical experience coupled with the personal magnetism he had onstage, Sansom is well positioned for the next challenge of his career.’
    • ‘He had a sweet smile and good looks, but most of his magnetism came from his charm and wit.’
    • ‘Still, personal magnetism and motivational esprit remain important qualifications for leadership in evangelical groups.’
    • ‘Courage, personal magnetism and sharp intelligence combine to make these people brilliant leaders when it comes to the management and execution of original ideas.’
    • ‘He was one of those cats that just came along at the right time with an incredible gift, an incredible presence, an incredible magnetism that just dominated the entire rock-and-roll world.’
    • ‘She has a demeanor and magnetism that attracts individuals and makes them feel very comfortable in her presence.’
    • ‘People with warm hands have personal magnetism, vivacity, and strength of character.’
    • ‘All he needs is to exude a little persuasive magnetism - a characteristic he possesses in abundance.’
    • ‘Professor Krebs's brilliant mind and personal magnetism have attracted numerous students to his laboratory.’
    • ‘Family and friends spoke of his humour, drive and magnetism at the funeral service in the packed church where a small Dublin suburban community gathered to pay their last respects.’
    • ‘His quiet charisma and magnetism encourages loyalty.’
    • ‘Last year she was the most photographed woman athlete on the covers of sports magazines and her magnetism attracts people wherever she plays.’
    • ‘Her warm personality and her maternal magnetism draws children near.’
    • ‘In addition he was endowed by a dynamic personality, buoyant spirit, and had immense personal magnetism, saintly kindliness and charity, displaying neither envy nor malice.’
    • ‘He was one of the greatest artists ballet has ever produced, a dancer of exceptional ability and magnetism.’
    • ‘He's as smooth as Thai silk in public, and his colleagues marvel at his personal magnetism, his 24/7 work ethic, and his rigorous attachment to benchmarks and targets.’
    • ‘She was charming, with the indefinable magnetism certain older cultivated European women possess whether or not they were beauties in their youth.’
    • ‘I stood transfixed, staring as he glowed with magnetism and enchanted charm.’
    allure, attraction, fascination, enchantment, appeal, draw, drawing power, pull, charm, seductiveness, sexual magnetism, animal magnetism, magic, spell, charisma
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Early 17th century: from modern Latin magnetismus, from Latin magneta (see magnet).