The word is usually used to mean the difference between three justly tuned major thirds (tuned in the frequency ratio 5:4) and an octave (in the ratio 2:1), equal to 128:125 or about 41.06 centss.

The word *diesis* has also been used to describe a large number of intervals, of varying sizes, but typically around 50 cents. Philolaus used it to describe the interval now usually called a *limma*, that of a justly tuned perfect fourth (4:3) minus two whole tones (9:8), equal to 256:243, or around 90 cents. Other theorists have used it for various other intervals.