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refraction (noun) the bending of a light ray as it passes through media of different densities.

Light rays bend as they pass from a medium of one density into a medium of a different density. This is refraction. For example, a distant object appears nearer than it actually is, because of the varying densities of air. A stick immersed in water appears bent at the point of its contact with water. This is due to refraction.

  • A single ray of light passing through a glass prism emerges as rays of different colors because of refraction.
  • Because of refraction the bottom of a tub appears less deep than it actually as.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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