Learn English – Difference between “size” and “magnitude”


Following the comments to this answer to another question, what is the difference between size and magnitude?

I know there's a difference, but can someone put it in a nutshell for me?

Best Answer

Usually, size connotes physical dimensions while magnitude connotes either a numerical measure (particularly a non-linear one) of any sort of amount or metaphorical size.

"What size is that screw?" (Physical dimensions)

"A problem of immense magnitude" (Metaphorical size)

You can also use size to mean metaphorical size, but you usually can't use magnitude alone to mean physical size. (Nobody would say "What's your sneaker magnitude?")