axis

noun
ax·​is | \ ˈak-səs How to pronounce axis (audio) \
plural axes\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce axes (audio) \

Definition of axis

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a straight line about which a body or a geometric figure rotates or may be supposed to rotate the Earth's axis
b : a straight line with respect to which a body or figure is symmetrical the axis of a cone

called also axis of symmetry

c : a straight line that bisects at right angles a system of parallel chords of a curve and divides the curve into two symmetrical parts
d : one of the reference lines of a coordinate system (see coordinate entry 3 sense 1a)

2 anatomy

a : the second vertebra of the neck on which the head and first vertebra turn as on a pivot
b : any of various central, fundamental, or axial parts
3 botany : a plant stem
4 crystallography : one of several imaginary lines assumed in describing the positions of the planes by which a crystal is bounded and the positions of atoms in the structure of the crystal
5 : a main line of direction, motion, growth, or extension the axis of a city
6a : an implied line in painting or sculpture through a composition to which elements in the composition are referred fruit and flowers arranged about a diagonal axis
b : a line actually drawn and used as the basis of measurements in an architectural or other working drawing
7 aviation : any of three fixed lines of reference in an aircraft that run in the longitudinal, lateral, and vertical directions, are mutually perpendicular, and usually pass through the aircraft's center of gravity
8 : partnership, alliance an axis of countries
9 : a point or continuum on which something centers an axis of social power

Axis

adjective

Definition of Axis (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to the three powers Germany, Italy, and Japan engaged against the Allied nations in World War II

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Examples of axis in a Sentence

Noun

the Earth's axis of rotation the spin of the Earth on its axis

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The answer to this question flipped the NBA on its axis three summers ago, adding one of the greatest scorers in league history to a 73-win squad. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Five Big Questions Surrounding Kevin Durant's NBA Free Agency," 24 June 2019 Throughout the year, the earth tilts on its axis at a diagonal away from or toward the sun, causing the change in seasons. Madison Roberts, PEOPLE.com, "Today's Summer Solstice Marks the Longest Day of the Year — Here's Everything You Need to Know," 21 June 2019 Be aware of how idealism can cause financial missteps on or near Wednesday, June 23, as your planetary ruler, Venus, faces off with optimistic Jupiter across your axis of personal and shared wealth. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What June's Taurus Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 29 May 2019 Earth has seasons because its axis is tilted about 23.5 degrees, exposing the Northern and Southern hemispheres to fluctuating amounts of direct sunlight during the year. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About Seasons," 16 Apr. 2019 On the date of an equinox, the earth's axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "What is the summer solstice? A brief explainer," 19 June 2019 The movie begins with a tragedy narrowly averted—a deadly shooting by a police officer, sparked by an accusation by a brazen racist—suggesting a world that was already way out of whack even before the Earth’s axis shifted. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, "“The Dead Don’t Die,” Reviewed: Jim Jarmusch’s Fiercely Political Zombie Comedy," 14 June 2019 During this season, Earth’s northern axis is slightly tilted toward the sun, so that the Northern Hemisphere gets more direct sunlight and experiences warmer temperatures. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "Solstice arrives, and more top stargazing events in June," 31 May 2019 Earth’s rotational axis — the imaginary line through our planet’s center and the geographic north and south poles — isn’t exactly at a right angle to the planet's orbital path around the sun. Tom Metcalfe, NBC News, "What is the summer solstice? The science behind the first day of summer," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'axis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of axis

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1938, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for axis

Noun

Latin, axis, axle; akin to Old English eax axis, axle, Greek axōn, Lithuanian ašis, Sanskrit akṣaḥ

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Statistics for axis

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for axis

The first known use of axis was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for axis

axis

noun

English Language Learners Definition of axis

: the imaginary straight line that something (such as the Earth) turns around
: a straight line that divides a shape evenly into two parts

axis

noun
ax·​is | \ ˈak-səs How to pronounce axis (audio) \
plural axes\ ˈak-​ˌsēz \

Kids Definition of axis

1 : a straight line about which a body or a geometric figure rotates or may be thought of as rotating the earth's axis
2 : a line of reference used to assign numbers to locations in a geometric plane

axis

noun
ax·​is | \ ˈak-səs How to pronounce axis (audio) \
plural axes\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce axes (audio) \

Medical Definition of axis

1a : a straight line about which a body or a geometric figure rotates or may be thought of as rotating
b : a straight line with respect to which a body, organ, or figure is symmetrical
2a : the second vertebra of the neck of the higher vertebrates that is prolonged anteriorly within the foramen of the first vertebra and united with the dens which serves as a pivot for the atlas and head to turn upon

called also epistropheus

b : any of various central, fundamental, or axial parts the cerebrospinal axis the skeletal axis
c : axilla

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More from Merriam-Webster on axis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with axis

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for axis

Spanish Central: Translation of axis

Nglish: Translation of axis for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of axis for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about axis

Comments on axis

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