F. V. Hunt

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

After wincing for many years, I can no longer refrain from calling attention to the technical and gramatical errors committed by users of the term "resonant frequency." Tuned circuits, cavities, and other systems that exhibit resonance can be described as resonant; but being resonant is not an attribute that can properly be ascribed to frequency. Of course, what is always meant is the frequency at which resonance occurs. This can be shortened to frequency of resonance and, by indulging the scientists' common habit of turning nouns into adjectives, it can be further shortened to resonance frequency.
It seems to be widely believed, or hoped, that if you commit an error often enough and with enough dogged insistence, it may cease to be regarded as an error. Even if this were generally true, a decent regard for the integrity of technical terminology ought to dictate the avoidance of such malpractice when it involves a distortion of the meaning of well-defined technical terms. The mismatch of impedances represented by the term resonant frequency ought, therefore, to be sedulously avoided....Resonance frequency, please!
©The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Part 1), August 1971.

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