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(1)   (astronomy) the particular appearance of a body's state of illumination (especially one of the recurring shapes of the part of Earth's moon that is illuminated by the sun)
"The full phase of the moon"
(2)   (physical chemistry) a distinct state of matter in a system; matter that is identical in chemical composition and physical state and separated from other material by the phase boundary
"The reaction occurs in the liquid phase of the system"
(3)   A particular point in the time of a cycle; measured from some arbitrary zero and expressed as an angle
(4)   Any distinct time period in a sequence of events
"We are in a transitional stage in which many former ideas must be revised or rejected"


(5)   Adjust so as to be in a synchronized condition
"He phased the intake with the output of the machine"
(6)   Arrange in phases or stages
"Phase a withdrawal"


< < < ; cf. phantasm and see face.


  1. A distinguishable part of a sequence or cycle occurring over time.
  2. That which is exhibited to the eye; the appearance which anything manifests, especially any one among different and varying appearances of the same object.
  3. Any appearance or aspect of an object of mental apprehension or view.
    The problem has many phases.
  4. A particular appearance or state in a regularly recurring cycle of changes with respect to quantity of illumination or form, or the absence, of its enlightened disk; as, the phases of the moon or planets. Illustrated in Wikipedia's article Lunar phase.
  5. Any one point or portion in a recurring series of changes, as in the changes of motion of one of the particles constituting a wave or vibration; one portion of a series of such changes, in distinction from a contrasted portion, as the portion on one side of a position of equilibrium, in contrast with that on the opposite side.


  1. (to phase out) To discontinue (doing) something over a period of time (i.e., in phases).
  2. To stun or shock someone.
  3. To become stunned or shocked.

Usage notes

The sense of phase meaning stunned or shocked is a misspelling of the intended word faze. This has become fairly common nonstandard use. See notes at faze.