noun \ˈvek-tər\

mathematics : a quantity (such as velocity) that has size and direction

: the course or direction of an airplane

biology : an insect, animal, etc., that carries germs that cause disease

Full Definition of VECTOR

a :  a quantity that has magnitude and direction and that is commonly represented by a directed line segment whose length represents the magnitude and whose orientation in space represents the direction; broadly :  an element of a vector space
b :  a course or compass direction especially of an airplane
a :  an organism (as an insect) that transmits a pathogen
b :  pollinator a
:  an agent (as a plasmid or virus) that contains or carries modified genetic material (as recombinant DNA) and can be used to introduce exogenous genes into the genome of an organism
vector adjective
vec·to·ri·al \vek-ˈtr-ē-əl\ adjective
vec·to·ri·al·ly \-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of VECTOR

  1. a mosquito that is the principal vector of yellow fever

Origin of VECTOR

New Latin, from Latin, carrier, from vehere to carry — more at way
First Known Use: 1846

Other Aeronautics/Aerospace Terms

airway, apron, corridor, dirigible, fishtail, flat-hat, vector

Rhymes with VECTOR


transitive verb
vec·toredvec·tor·ing \-t(ə-)riŋ\

Definition of VECTOR

:  to guide (as an airplane, its pilot, or a missile) in flight by means of a radioed vector
:  to change the direction of (the thrust of a jet engine) for steering

First Known Use of VECTOR


Other Aeronautics/Aerospace Terms

airway, apron, corridor, dirigible, fishtail, flat-hat


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In mathematics, a quantity characterized by magnitude and direction. Some physical and geometric quantities, called scalars, can be fully defined by a single number specifying their magnitude in suitable units of measure (e.g., mass in grams, temperature in degrees, time in seconds). Quantities like velocity, force, and displacement must be specified by a magnitude and a direction. These are vectors. A vector quantity can be visualized as an arrow drawn in a specific direction, whose length is equal to the magnitude of the quantity represented. A two-dimensional vector is specified by two coordinates, a three-dimensional vector by three coordinates, and so on. Vector analysis is a branch of mathematics that explores the utility of this type of representation and defines the ways such quantities may be combined. See also vector operations.


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