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Meaning of beta

be•ta

Pronunciation: (bā'tu or, esp. Brit., bē'-), [key]
— n.
  1. the second letter of the Greek alphabet (&bgr;, B).
  2. the consonant sound represented by this letter.
  3. (cap.)a star that is usually the second brightest of a constellation: The second brightest star in Taurus is Beta Tauri.
    1. one of the possible positions of an atom or group in a compound.
    2. one of two or more isomeric compounds.
  4. the second of any series, as in chemistry or physics.
  5. Also calledan arbitrary measure of the volatility of a given stock using an index of the volatility of the market as a whole: A beta of 1.1 indicates a stock that is 10 percent more volatile than the market.
  6. (cap.)a brand of tape format for VCR tape, incompatible with other formats. Cf. VHS.
  7. a grade showing that a student is in the middle or second of three scholastic sections in a class. Cf. alpha (def. 7),(def. 9).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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