Definition of order of magnitude in US English:

order of magnitude


  • 1A class in a system of classification determined by size, each class being a number of times (usually ten) greater or smaller than the one before.

    ‘values might be compared by order of magnitude, a staple in making ballpark estimates’
    • ‘Costs are still a few orders of magnitude too high for the sequencing of one's own genome to become commonplace.’
    • ‘This value is on the same order of magnitude as determined in Fig.6.’
    • ‘For a simple model of population structure the same is true when the probability of migrating is not higher than the order of magnitude of the inverse of the population size.’
    • ‘Its numerical value also grew by an order of magnitude during the war owing to an increase of the third factor.’
    • ‘To measure changes that take place in about a femtosecond, they needed something they could characterize in attoseconds, an order of magnitude lower than existing systems.’
    • ‘Thus we will only discuss the order of magnitude of the estimated number of loci and not fine numerical comparisons.’
    • ‘This new system will provide nearly an order of magnitude more data than the current operational system.’
    • ‘This is an order of magnitude faster than on the old VAX system.’
    • ‘Galileo's telescopes increased both light-gathering power and angular resolution by about an order of magnitude.’
    • ‘Because these parameters span two orders of magnitude, we cannot determine mutation rates.’
    • ‘As late as 1997 unemployment rates remained over 10 per cent, an order of magnitude higher than in the golden age of the 1960s and more than twice the rates of the United States.’
    • ‘This has been done using sample sizes of the same order of magnitude as those used by Buchanan and Evans.’
    • ‘So, the answer will be only correct within an order of magnitude.’
    • ‘Second, Mott and Nabarro considered the case where the particle spacing is not negligible compared to the minimum radius of curvature of the dislocation, but are of the same order of magnitude.’
    • ‘The total amount of data collected per experiment will go up by orders of magnitude with this system.’
    • ‘By doubling ‘only’ every 18 months or so, computer power takes five years to increase by a single order of magnitude.’
    • ‘Their analysis and observations agreed: The resonance is sharp, its amplitude modest, and its frequency an order of magnitude below that of the power supply.’
    • ‘Both these estimates were an order of magnitude too small, but the fault was in Aristarchus's lack of accurate instruments rather than in his correct method of reasoning.’
    • ‘The calculated diffusion coefficient was found to be of the same order of magnitude as the diffusion coefficient of air in water.’
    • ‘This ratio varies in plesiosaurs by more than an order of magnitude and is used here as a proxy for trophic specialization.’
    1. 1.1 Relative size, quantity, quality, etc.
      ‘the new problems were of a different order of magnitude’
      • ‘When the city's homicide toll hovers in that order of magnitude, nobody gets too upset.’
      • ‘We've never faced a disaster of this nature or order of magnitude, but yes, I think we're beginning to understand what we need.’
      • ‘Fifty years from now, the biological intelligence of humanity will still be at that same order of magnitude.’
      • ‘I was bowled away by the band's performance last year, but this was a different order of magnitude.’
      • ‘We are dealing with a different order of magnitude of threat.’
      • ‘But Mont Pincon was different, the same sort of battle but of a different order of magnitude.’
      • ‘Or is what CBS News is doing here just a whole different order of magnitude?’
      • ‘In other theatres of operation, statistics for military losses were of an order of magnitude that had been registered in the First World War.’
      • ‘Considerations of this order of magnitude must not be brushed aside.’
      • ‘The economics of operation were therefore of a wholly different order of magnitude from the economics of operation of the slower, smaller but basically efficient older ferries.’
      • ‘It must be in that order of magnitude because think of the billions of dollars that have been sent that way, billions.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, with costs of that order of magnitude, one might imagine that such a venture would be solely within the domain of governments.’
      • ‘But what takes it into a different order of magnitude is his decision to keep his shares in the family - until forced, last night, to sell them.’
      • ‘I think it is in a different order of magnitude to that of Smith and Carlos back then.’
      • ‘‘It's a different order of magnitude,’ says Chronos.’
    2. 1.2 The arrangement of a number of items determined by their relative size.
      ‘the items are arranged in ascending order of magnitude’
      • ‘The higher the absolute value, more important is the response variable, which enables its sorting in descending order of magnitude.’
      • ‘Write the sequence in ascending order of magnitude beginning with the smallest.’


order of magnitude

/ˈɔrdər əv/