• electromagnetic waves whose wavelengths are between 0.3 and 30 centimeters, corresponding to frequencies of between 100 and 1 GHz, respectively, although the defined interval can vary considerably. For instance, microwaves may also be defined as encompassing wavelengths from 0.1 to 100 centimeters, or between 3 centimeters and 30 centimeters, and so on. Microwaves are further subdivided into bands of frequencies, such as the L, S, C, X, and K bands, and are used extensively in satellite and cellular communications, in radars, and for cooking, among other applications. Also called microwave region (1), or microwave range (1).
  • synonymmicrowave range
  • synonymmicrowave region


  • Very-high-frequency electromagnetic radiation used to heat up and cook foods. Microwaves transfer their energy to food by causing certain types of molecules to vibrate at their frequency. They are generally absorbed in the first cm of the surface and hence solid food to be cooked should be less than 2 cm thick or well stirred from time to time if contained in a deep container. Microwaves are reflected off metal surfaces but isolated metal within an enclosure will heat up and sometimes cause sparking.