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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
alpha girl
alpha male
alpha particle
alpha test
alpha version
gamma/alpha/beta radiationtechnical (= radiation given off by the atomic matter of gamma, alpha, or beta rays)
▪ The conventional treatment for cancer is to bombard the tumour with gamma radiation.
▪ Females often try to escape from the alpha male's vigilance, and will go up to the beta male and solicit copulation.
▪ You see it in nonhuman primates, where the new alpha male comes into the troop and mates.
▪ They turned themselves into cartoon alpha males.
▪ They were also friendlier towards female infants and those not fathered by the current alpha male.
▪ Overall, females were friendliest and least aggressive towards alpha males, regardless of their treatment of infants.
▪ Since females reap substantial protective benefits from associating with alpha males, this is perhaps not surprising.
▪ They might find themselves having to do some serious work, with concomitant loss of status among the other alpha males.
▪ The radiation emitted by these isotopes consists of alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays.
▪ Helium is also made by radioactive decay of uranium and thorium, both of which decay by emission of alpha particles.
▪ Fresh soil samples, taken recently in the presence of journalists, are currently being investigated for gamma rays and alpha particles.
▪ The helium atom without its electrons is known as an alpha particle, and is therefore positively charged.
▪ Radium is readily absorbed into the body where it concentrates in the bone marrow and gives off very damaging alpha particles.
▪ Fresh soil samples, taken recently in the presence of journalists, are currently being investigated for gamma rays and alpha particles.
▪ Glucagon is produced in the pancreas by the alpha cells.
▪ Hemoglobin F, or fetal hemoglobin, is composed of two alpha chains and two gamma chains. 214.
▪ Recordings of sleep-deprived subjects have shown a reduction in the amplitude of alpha rhythms.
▪ The isotopes give off long-lasting alpha radiation and the waste will remain dangerous for 3000 years or more.
▪ The radiation emitted by these isotopes consists of alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Alpha \Al"pha\, n. [L. alpha, Gr. 'a`lfa, from Heb. [=a]leph, name of the first letter in the alphabet, also meaning ox.] The first letter in the Greek alphabet, answering to A, and hence used to denote the beginning.

In am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
--Rev. xxii. 13.

Note: Formerly used also denote the chief; as, Plato was the alpha of the wits.

Note: In cataloguing stars, the brightest star of a constellation in designated by Alpha ([alpha]); as, [alpha] Lyr[ae].


A \A\ (named [=a] in the English, and most commonly ["a] in other languages). The first letter of the English and of many other alphabets. The capital A of the alphabets of Middle and Western Europe, as also the small letter (a), besides the forms in Italic, black letter, etc., are all descended from the old Latin A, which was borrowed from the Greek Alpha, of the same form; and this was made from the first letter (?) of the Ph[oe]nician alphabet, the equivalent of the Hebrew Aleph, and itself from the Egyptian origin. The Aleph was a consonant letter, with a guttural breath sound that was not an element of Greek articulation; and the Greeks took it to represent their vowel Alpha with the ["a] sound, the Ph[oe]nician alphabet having no vowel symbols. [1913 Webster] This letter, in English, is used for several different vowel sounds. See Guide to pronunciation, [sect][sect] 43-74. The regular long a, as in fate, etc., is a comparatively modern sound, and has taken the place of what, till about the early part of the 17th century, was a sound of the quality of ["a] (as in far).

2. (Mus.) The name of the sixth tone in the model major scale (that in C), or the first tone of the minor scale, which is named after it the scale in A minor. The second string of the violin is tuned to the A in the treble staff. -- A sharp (A[sharp]) is the name of a musical tone intermediate between A and B. -- A flat (A[flat]) is the name of a tone intermediate between A and G.

A per se (L. per se by itself), one pre["e]minent; a nonesuch. [Obs.]

O fair Creseide, the flower and A per se Of Troy and Greece.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, from Latin alpha, from Greek alpha, from Hebrew or Phoenician aleph (see aleph). The Greeks added -a because Greek words cannot end in most consonants. Sense of "beginning of anything" is from late 14c., often paired with omega (last letter in the Greek alphabet) as "the end." Sense of "first in a sequence" is from 1620s. Alpha male was in use by c.1960 among scientists studying animals; applied to humans in society from c.1992.


a. 1 Designates the first in an order of precedence. 2 (context person, object or action English) associated with the alpha male/female archetype. 3 (context star English) Designates the brightest star in a constellation. n. 1 The name of the first letter of the Greek alphabet ('''Α''', '''α'''), followed by beta. In the Latin alphabet it is the predecessor to '''A'''. 2 Latin alpha 3 (context science English) The name of the symbol '''Α''' and '''α''' used in science and mathematics, often interchangeable with the symbols when used as a prefix. 4 (context finance English) The return of a given asset or portfolio adjusted for systematic risk. 5 An alpha male. 6 (context informal abbreviation English) Alphabet. 7 (context computer graphics English) The level of translucency of a color, as determined by the alpha channel.

  1. adj. first in order of importance; "the alpha male in the group of chimpanzees"; "the alpha star in a constellation is the brightest or main star"

  2. early testing stage of a software or hardware product; "alpha version"

  1. n. the 1st letter of the Greek alphabet

  2. the beginning of a series or sequence; "the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end"--Revelations

Alpha, NJ -- U.S. borough in New Jersey
Population (2000): 2482
Housing Units (2000): 1034
Land area (2000): 1.697667 sq. miles (4.396936 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.038457 sq. miles (0.099604 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 1.736124 sq. miles (4.496540 sq. km)
FIPS code: 01030
Located within: New Jersey (NJ), FIPS 34
Location: 40.664003 N, 75.159871 W
ZIP Codes (1990): 08865
Note: some ZIP codes may be omitted esp. for suburbs.
Alpha, NJ
Alpha, IL -- U.S. village in Illinois
Population (2000): 726
Housing Units (2000): 318
Land area (2000): 0.321989 sq. miles (0.833947 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 0.321989 sq. miles (0.833947 sq. km)
FIPS code: 00971
Located within: Illinois (IL), FIPS 17
Location: 41.192203 N, 90.380943 W
ZIP Codes (1990): 61413
Note: some ZIP codes may be omitted esp. for suburbs.
Alpha, IL
Alpha, MI -- U.S. village in Michigan
Population (2000): 198
Housing Units (2000): 118
Land area (2000): 0.940174 sq. miles (2.435039 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.053292 sq. miles (0.138026 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 0.993466 sq. miles (2.573065 sq. km)
FIPS code: 01800
Located within: Michigan (MI), FIPS 26
Location: 46.044786 N, 88.378419 W
ZIP Codes (1990):
Note: some ZIP codes may be omitted esp. for suburbs.
Alpha, MI
Alpha, MN -- U.S. city in Minnesota
Population (2000): 126
Housing Units (2000): 61
Land area (2000): 0.177101 sq. miles (0.458690 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 0.177101 sq. miles (0.458690 sq. km)
FIPS code: 01162
Located within: Minnesota (MN), FIPS 27
Location: 43.638242 N, 94.871621 W
ZIP Codes (1990): 56111
Note: some ZIP codes may be omitted esp. for suburbs.
Alpha, MN

Alpha (uppercase , lowercase ; Álpha) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 1. It was derived from the Phoenician letter aleph . Letters that arose from alpha include the Latin A and the Cyrillic letter А.

In English, the noun "alpha" is used as a synonym for "beginning", or "first" (in a series), reflecting its Greek roots.

Alpha (disambiguation)

Alpha (Α or α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Alpha or ALPHA may also refer to:

Alpha (ethology)

In studies of social animals, the highest ranking individual is sometimes designated as the alpha. Males, females, or both, can be alphas, depending on the species. Where one male and one female fulfill this role together, they are sometimes referred to as the alpha pair. Other animals in the same social group may exhibit deference or other species-specific subordinate behaviours towards the alpha or alphas.

Alpha animals usually gain preferential access to food and other desirable items or activities, though the extent of this varies widely between species. Male or female alphas may gain preferential access to sex or mates; in some species, only alphas or an alpha pair reproduce.

Alphas may achieve their status by superior physical strength and aggression, or through social efforts and building alliances within the group.

The individual with alpha status sometimes changes, often through a fight between the dominant and a subordinate animal. Such fights may or may not be to the death. In some packs, an animal would kill their opponent to show how strong they are.

Alpha (finance)

Alpha is a measure of the active return on an investment, the performance of that investment compared to a suitable market index. An alpha of 1% means the investment's return on investment over a selected period of time was 1% better than the market during that same period, an alpha of -1 means the investment underperformed the market. Alpha is one of the five key measures in modern portfolio theory: alpha, beta, standard deviation, R-squared and the Sharpe ratio.

In modern financial markets, where index funds are widely available for purchase, alpha is commonly used to judge the performance of mutual funds and similar investments. As these funds include various fees normally expressed in percent terms, the fund has to maintain an alpha greater than its fees in order to provide positive gains compared to an index fund. Historically, the vast majority of traditional funds have had negative alphas, which has led to a flight of capital to index funds and non-traditional hedge funds.

It is also possible to analyze a portfolio of investments and calculate a theoretical performance, most commonly using the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). Returns on that portfolio can be compared to the theoretical returns, in which case the measure is known as Jensen's alpha. This is useful for non-traditional or highly focused funds, where a single stock index might not be representative of the investment's holdings.

Alpha (Asia album)

Alpha is the second studio album by British rock band Asia, released in 1983. It was certified Platinum in the United States, eventually selling close to two million copies.

Released one year before the departure of guitarist Steve Howe, Alpha was the last album with the band's original line-up until 2008's Phoenix, after the original members reunited in 2006, and the last album with Howe until Aqua in 1992.

Alpha (band)

Alpha is an English electronica group, comprising founding member Corin Dingley, vocalist and lyricist Wendy Stubbs and Hannah Collins; other founding member, Andy Jenks, left the group before the release of their 2007 LP " The Sky Is Mine". Originally working under the name "Ariel", the duo of Dingley and Jenks came together in 1995 after both had worked on various projects in the Bristol area, home of trip-hop groups Massive Attack and Portishead. Like Massive Attack, Alpha recruited singers to add vocals to their downtempo, beat-driven compositions of the late 1990s, which led to them being included in the category of "Post Trip-Hop". " ComeFromHeaven", their debut LP was the first release on Massive Attack's Melankolic label in 1997. They are currently on Don't Touch Recordings, a label they founded. A collaboration with Reggae vocalist Horace Andy, entitled Two-Phazed People, was released in August 2009. Corin Dingley, one of the founder members of Alpha, has finished the 15th release for Alpha; it features vocals from Kate Stables, This Is The Kit, Jesse D Vernon, Morning Star, Jamie Gingell, Secret Shine, Hannah Collins, Wendy Stubbs, and Joe Cassidy.

Alpha (navigation)

Alpha (also called RSDN-20 ) is a Russian system for long range radio navigation. RSDN in Russian stands for (radiotehnicheskaya Sistema Dal'ney Navigatsii), which translates to English as "radio-technical long-distance navigation system".

Alpha was used to determine positions of aircraft, ships, and submarines (in underwater positions). The system was developed in parallel with U.S. Omega navigational system, and also works in VLF-range. Alpha coverage is up to 10,000 km from the master station, with a position error of 2.5…7 km.

The Alpha system consists of three transmitters, placed in the proximity of Novosibirsk, Krasnodar and Khabarovsk. Two other transmitters at Revda and Seyda are not currently operational as of 2010. These transmitters radiate signals of 0.4 second duration, in a 3.6 second cycle, on the frequencies F1: 11.904761 kHz, F2: 12.648809 kHz and F3: 14.880952 kHz. From the phase difference of the received signals, a location can be determined.

Other alternative frequencies are F3p: 14.881091 kHz, F4: 12.090773 kHz, F5: 12.044270 kHz, F6: 12.500000 kHz, F7: 13.281250 kHz, F8: 15.625000 kHz, Fx: 12.700000 kHz.

Much like the antenna masts used for the U.S. Omega navigational system, the masts of Alpha must be very tall, for technical reasons. Unfortunately, no data are available for their height.

Some transmitters are being disabled as of January 2014.

Alpha (programming language)

The Alpha language was the original database language proposed by Edgar F. Codd, the inventor of the relational database approach. It was defined in Codd's 1971 paper "A Data Base Sublanguage Founded on the Relational Calculus". Alpha influenced the design of QUEL. It was eventually supplanted by SQL (which is however based on the relational algebra defined by Codd in "Relational Completeness of Data Base Sublanguages"), which IBM developed for its first commercial relational database product.

Alpha (DC Comics)

Alpha is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. He is a martial artist created by writer Kelley Puckett and artist Damion Scott as a villain to Batgirl, and he first appeared in Batgirl #35 (2003).

Alpha (Sevendust album)

Alpha is the sixth studio album by the rock band Sevendust. The album was released on March 6, 2007.

Alpha is the band's second album featuring Sonny Mayo on rhythm guitar and the first with him as part of the writing process. Alpha is also the first album by the band to be released under the Warner-affiliated Asylum Records, making Sevendust the first metal/rock band on that label (the rest being hip-hop and rap artists). The tracks " Driven" and "Feed" were featured on the video game, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2008.

The album entered the U.S. Billboard 200 at number 14, selling about 42,000 copies in its first week.

The song "Burn" is the band's longest song to date.

Alpha (Alice Nine album)

Alpha is the second full-length studio album from visual kei rock band Alice Nine. It was released on the November 28th, 2007. Alpha includes 12 tracks, 4 of which were previously released as singles. Two versions of the album were released on the same day: one regular edition with only the CD, and one special edition with an exclusive DVD that includes two new music videos. The song "Eraser" is also featured on the band's Mirror Ball single, albeit remade with a different arrangement and instrumental background.

Alpha (Lombard)

Alpha is a Franco-Belgian comics series written by Pascal Renard, illustrated by Youri Jigounov and published by Le Lombard in French and Cinebook in English.

Alpha (Marvel Comics)

Alpha (Andrew "Andy" Maguire) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Alpha (comics)

Alpha in comics may refer to:

  • Alpha (DC Comics), a character from DC Comics
  • Alpha (Marvel Comics), a character from Marvel Comics
  • Alpha (Lombard), a Franco-Belgian comics series
  • Alpha Girl, a 2012 Image Comics comic book series by Jean-Paul Bonjour and Jeff Roenning
  • Alpha the Ultimate Mutant, a character featured in Marvel Comics
Alpha (Police Unit)

Unit for First Response and Intervention - Alpha is a special police unit in Macedonia.

Alpha (EP)

Alpha EP is the debut EP by British electronica musician Zoojar, released on September 1, 2014

ALPHA (psychedelic)

ALPHA or alpha- ethyl-3,4- methylenedioxy benzylamine, is a lesser-known psychedelic drug and a substituted benzylamine. It is also the benzylamine analogue of MDA. ALPHA was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin. In his book PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved) in the MDA page, the threshold dosage is listed as 10 mg. At mild threshold dosages (around 10 mg) there are eyes-closed "dreams" with some body tingling, at higher doses (up to 140 mg) was reported to produce a pleasant, positive feeling. This compound is not anoretic at any dose. It lasts about 3 hours. Very little data exists about the pharmacological properties, metabolism, and toxicity of ALPHA.

Alpha (The X-Files)

"Alpha" is the sixteenth episode of the sixth season of the science fiction television series The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on March 28, 1999 in the United States. The episode was written by Jeffrey Bell, and directed by Peter Markle. The episode is a "Monster-of-the-Week" story, unconnected to the series' wider mythology. "Alpha" earned a Nielsen household rating of 10.1, being watched by 17.7 million people in its initial broadcast. The episode received mostly negative reviews from critics.

The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder ( David Duchovny) and Dana Scully ( Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal, while the skeptical Scully has been assigned to debunk his work. In this episode, Mulder and Scully investigate several killings blamed on an Asian dog called the Wanshang Dhole, thought to be extinct. Mulder and Scully join an obstinate Sheriff, a seemingly eccentric hunter, and a reclusive canine expert to find it. However, there is more mystery to the expert than meets the eye.

"Alpha" was based on a single motif—"Scary dogs in the City"—written by Jeffrey Bell onto a notecard. The episode went through several drafts before being readied right before filming began. Several of the scenes featuring the Chinese freighter were created either through digital technology or through the combination of matte paintings and actual filmed footage.

Usage examples of "alpha".

At the zenith glittered the splendid Antares in the Scorpion, and not far was Alpha Centauri, which is believed to be the nearest star to the terrestrial globe.

At this moment the Southern Cross presented itself to the observer in an inverted position, the star Alpha marking its base, which is nearer to the southern pole.

The star Alpha is about twenty-seven degrees from it, but Cyrus Harding knew this and made allowance for it in his calculation.

Cyrus Harding pointed one leg of the compasses to the horizon, the other to Alpha, and the space between the two legs gave him the angular distance which separated Alpha from the horizon.

The value of this angle would give the height of Alpha, and consequently that of the pole above the horizon, that is to say, the latitude of the island, since the latitude of a point of the globe is always equal to the height of the pole above the horizon of this point.

Cyrus Harding then took the instrument which he had made the evening before, the space between its two legs giving the angular distance between the star Alpha and the horizon.

Now, this angle by adding to it the twenty-seven degrees which separated Alpha from the antarctic pole, and by reducing to the level of the sea the height of the cliff on which the observation had been made, was found to be fiftythree degrees.

Michael noted, as he turned to the Grand Dame Alpha with his hands loose and open.

And to keep safe the werewolf clans of Crimson City, the Grand Dame Alpha would do anything.

Grand Dame Alpha, Michael highly doubted the accuracy of that last barb.

Did the Grand Dame Alpha contact the vampires or police about the murder?

Grand Dame Alpha, an odd look on her face as she watched Keeli struggle to sit up.

But only the family members of an Alpha are allowed to live near the central heart of the underground.

Grand Dame Alpha, stalking through the wolves with a strength and poise that Michael would never have imagined, considering her age.

Grand Dame Alpha was sitting at her desk in front of the fireplace when Michael knocked on the door and entered her room.