This appeared as a random node but Webster 1913's definition certainly leaves something to be desired, so I decided to node what you don't know, picked up my friendly local encyclopedia and paraphrased what I found:

Paramagnetism is a magnetic effect present in many materials (for example aluminium and oxygen at room temperature) in which individual atoms' magnetic moments align in support of an applied magnetic field, the material being attracted towards the source of the applied field. It is characterized by positive magnetic susceptibility and exploited in magnetic cooling.

In other words, even materials that are usually thought of as non-magnetic are affected to a degree by magnetic fields, due to the action of the field on the atoms within that material. I didn't know this before so now I have learnt something useful from everything.

Par`a*mag"net*ism (?), n.

Magnetism, as opposed to diamagnetism.

Faraday.

 

© Webster 1913.

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