The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is fidelity. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.
What It Means
Fidelity refers to the quality or state of being faithful to someone, such as a spouse, or something, such as one’s country. Fidelity can also refer to accuracy in details. When applied to electronic devices, fidelity is the degree to which those devices accurately reproduce something, such as sound or images.
// The movie takes full advantage of the film medium while maintaining fidelity to the book.
FIDELITY in Context
“Too many of us have allowed the political parties to convince us that fidelity to them equates with allegiance to the republic.” — John Figliozzi, The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, New York), 24 Apr. 2022
Did You Know?
Fidelity came to English by way of French in the 15th century, and can ultimately be traced back to the Latin fidēlis, meaning “faithful, loyal, trustworthy.” While fidelity was originally exclusively about loyalty, it has for centuries also been used to refer to accuracy, as in “questions about the fidelity of the translation.” Nowadays fidelity is often used in reference to recording and broadcast devices, conveying the idea that a broadcast or recording is “faithful” to the live sound or picture that it reproduces.
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