A microwave is a small oven that cooks or heats food very quickly. Instead of the electric or gas heat that a regular oven uses, a microwave heats with electromagnetic radiation.

While the heat of a regular oven (or a small toaster oven) surrounds your food and cooks it from the outside, with the heat working its way in, a microwave's radiation cooks most food from the inside out. Its radiation, or waves, penetrate the food and heat up any moisture inside it. These waves are themselves called microwaves because they're short (and micro- means "small"), similar to radio waves.

Definitions of microwave

n kitchen appliance that cooks food by passing an electromagnetic wave through it; heat results from the absorption of energy by the water molecules in the food

microwave oven
Type of:
kitchen appliance
a home appliance used in preparing food

n a short electromagnetic wave (longer than infrared but shorter than radio waves); used for radar and microwave ovens and for transmitting telephone, facsimile, video and data

Type of:
electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic wave, nonparticulate radiation
radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge

v cook or heat in a microwave oven

“You can microwave the leftovers”
micro-cook, nuke, zap
Type of:
transform and make suitable for consumption by heating

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