quantum leap

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Possibly calque of Danish kvantespring.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

quantum leap (plural quantum leaps)

  1. (physics) The discontinuous change of the state of an electron in an atom or molecule from one energy level to another.
  2. (figuratively) An abrupt, extreme change.
    • 2001, Helene Ciaravino, How to Pray: Tapping Into the Power of Divine Communication, page 33,
      In the end, perhaps the practice of prayer effects a quantum leap of its own kind. It takes us, spontaneously and unexplainably, into the realm of spiritual energy.
    • 2010, December 18, Tim Stevenson, Opinion: Letters, in New Scientist,
      However, if we reject any theory that falls short of this ideal, science will have to progress in quantum leaps, each with infinitesimal probability.
  3. (figuratively, informal, nonstandard) A large, massive, significant change.
    • 1993, Mr Burton, before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Looking Back and Reaching Forward: Prospects for Democracy in Ethiopia : Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Africa of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, September 17, 1992, page 56:
      I was at the elections in Namibia. We had problems there, [...] But I would say that this is a quantum leap forward when you think of the Mengistu government and the horrible repression, the famine, the tyranny that existed under him, and you see this movement toward freedom and democracy over there. Although there, admittedly, have been problems, this is a giant step in the right direction.
    • 1995, Eva Shaw, Eve of Destruction: Prophecies, Theories, and Preparations for the End of the World
      A GIANT LEAP FORWARD
      Humanity is about to face a quantum leap forward. []
    • 2010, Dan Wilson, Supernatural Marriage: The Joy of Spirit-Led Intimacy, page 187,
      The addition of power from God through connectedness with the Holy Spirit results in a quantum leap in our ability to accomplish the will of God in our daily lives.

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