Earthquakes have great magnitude in that they are powerful. Their power is rated by their level of magnitude, or how much energy they release relative to other earthquakes.

In math, magnitude compares numbers by powers of 10. If your weekly allowance was $10, but your brother's was $100, his allowance would be one order of magnitude higher than yours. If your sister's was $10,000, hers would be three orders of magnitude higher. A difference of that magnitude is just not fair!

Definitions of magnitude

n the property of relative size or extent (whether large or small)

“they tried to predict the magnitude of the explosion”
“about the magnitude of a small pea”
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absolute magnitude
(astronomy) the magnitude that a star would have if it were viewed from a distance of 10 parsecs (32.62 light years) from the earth
dimension, proportion
magnitude or extent
order, order of magnitude
a degree in a continuum of size or quantity
the magnitude of something in a particular direction (especially length or width or height)
the seriousness of something (e.g., a burn or crime)
greatness of magnitude
the property of being multiple
the property of being triple
the physical magnitude of something (how big it is)
a large magnitude
bulk, mass, volume
the property of something that is great in magnitude
greatness of quantity or measure or extent
intensity, intensity level, strength
the amount of energy transmitted (as by acoustic or electromagnetic radiation)
the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion
the distance or area or volume over which something extends
radio brightness
the strength of a radio wave picked up by a radio telescope
signal level
the amplitude level of the desired signal
background level, noise level
the amplitude level of the undesired background noise
threshold level
the intensity level that is just barely perceptible
field intensity, field strength
the vector sum of all the forces exerted by an electrical or magnetic field (on a unit mass or unit charge or unit magnetic pole) at a given point in the field
candlepower, light intensity
luminous intensity measured in candelas
acoustic power, sound pressure level
the physical intensity of sound
half the maximum intensity
circumference, perimeter
the size of something as given by the distance around it
the dimension through an object as opposed to its length or width
slenderness, tenuity, thinness
relatively small dimension through an object as opposed to its length or width
bigness, largeness
the property of having a relatively great size
littleness, smallness
the property of having a relatively small size
positiveness, positivity
an amount greater than zero
negativeness, negativity
an amount less than zero
critical mass
the minimum amount (of something) required to start or maintain a venture
an adequate or large amount
increase, increment
the amount by which something increases
decrease, decrement
the amount by which something decreases
the property of being a relatively small amount
dollar volume, turnover
the volume measured in dollars
deficiency, inadequacy, insufficiency
lack of an adequate quantity or number
an amount beyond the minimum necessary
figure, number
the property possessed by a sum or total or indefinite quantity of units or individuals
the extent to which something is covered
the extent of land abutting on a street or water
bound, boundary, limit
the greatest possible degree of something
ambit, compass, orbit, range, reach, scope
an area in which something acts or operates or has power or control: "the range of a supersonic jet"
area, expanse, surface area
the extent of a 2-dimensional surface enclosed within a boundary
the linear extent in space from one end to the other; the longest dimension of something that is fixed in place
distance, length
size of the gap between two places
the property of being the extent of something from beginning to end
deepness, depth
the extent downward or backward or inward
breadth, width
the extent of something from side to side
height, tallness
the vertical dimension of extension; distance from the base of something to the top
third dimension
the dimension whereby a solid object differs from a two-dimensional drawing of it
fourth dimension, time
the fourth coordinate that is required (along with three spatial dimensions) to specify a physical event
Type of:
a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class

n relative importance

“a problem of the first magnitude
extensiveness, largeness
large or extensive in breadth or importance or comprehensiveness
Type of:
the quality of being important and worthy of note

n a number assigned to the ratio of two quantities; two quantities are of the same order of magnitude if one is less than 10 times as large as the other; the number of magnitudes that the quantities differ is specified to within a power of 10

order of magnitude
Type of:
the relative magnitudes of two quantities (usually expressed as a quotient)

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