Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

trajectory

play
noun tra·jec·to·ry \trə-ˈjek-t(ə-)rē\

Simple Definition of trajectory

  • : the curved path along which something (such as a rocket) moves through the air or through space

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of trajectory

plural

trajectories

  1. 1 :  the curve that a body (as a planet or comet in its orbit or a rocket) describes in space

  2. 2 :  a path, progression, or line of development resembling a physical trajectory <an upward career trajectory>

Examples of trajectory in a sentence

  1. the trajectory of the missile



Did You Know?

Formed with part of the prefix trans-, "across", trajectory means a "hurling across". By calculating the effect of gravity and other forces, the trajectory of an object launched into space at a known speed can be computed precisely. Missiles stand a chance of hitting their target only if their trajectory has been plotted accurately. The word is used most often in physics and engineering, but not always; we can also say, for example, that the trajectory of a whole life may be set in a person's youth, or that a new book traces the long trajectory of the French empire.

Origin and Etymology of trajectory

New Latin trajectoria, from feminine of trajectorius of passing, from Latin traicere to cause to cross, cross, from trans-, tra- trans- + jacere to throw — more at jet


First Known Use: 1696



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up trajectory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommodate accomodate acommadate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ