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Calque of French ondelette, from onde (wave) + -ette (-let).


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wavelet (plural wavelets)

  1. A small wave; a ripple.
    • 1851, “Speaker’s Meaning dimly descried” (Fragment) in Poems, London: William Pickering, p. 110,[1]
      I know not whether
      I see your meaning: if I do, it lies
      Upon the wordy wavelets of your voice,
      Dim as an evening shadow in a brook,
      When the least moon has silver on’t no larger
      Than the pure white of Hebe’s nail.
    • 1856, Herman Melville, “The Piazza” in The Piazza Tales, New York: Dix & Edwards, pp. 6-7,[2]
      [] long ground-swells roll the slanting grain, and little wavelets of grass ripple over upon the low piazza, as their beach, and the blown down of dandelions is wafted like the spray []
    • 1880, Sabine Baring-Gould, Mehalah: A Story of the Salt Marshes, London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1884, Chapter 4, p. 46,[3]
      The water danced and sparkled, multitudes of birds were on the wing, now dipping in the wavelets, now rising and shaking off the glittering drops.
    • 1963, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, London: Faber & Faber, 1971, Chapter Thirteen,[4]
      A little, rubbishy wavelet, full of candy wrappers and orange peel and seaweed, folded over my foot.
    • 1965, Muriel Spark, The Mandelbaum Gate, London: Macmillan, Chapter 3,
      They left the shop in a united wavelet of amusement []
  2. (mathematics) A fast-decaying oscillation.

Derived terms[edit]