axis

noun
ax·​is | \ ˈak-səs How to pronounce axis (audio) \
plural axes\ ˈak-​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 camera rarely sits still — sometimes swiveling on its axis, sometimes stalking the characters from behind — and its movements drive the picture’s own tonal oscillations between ecstasy and dread. Los Angeles Times, "Toronto Film Festival: ‘Waves’ and ‘Just Mercy’ shine a light on black American families in crisis," 7 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, over on Fox News, the planet was spinning on a different axis. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "CNN’s epic town hall on climate was a perfect time capsule for an unprecedented moment," 5 Sep. 2019 From the moment the Venerable Bede invented BC and AD dates, time itself turned on a Christian axis. The Economist, "Darwin was more Christian than he thought," 29 Aug. 2019 The scope of a standard sniper rifle has a crosshair in the center and, to the left, a curved graph with distance on the vertical axis and a flat line representing the ground on the horizontal one. Azad Cudi, Harper's magazine, "Long Shot," 10 Jan. 2019 The Ka-52 uses a coaxial rotor system — two rotors on the same axis but rotating in opposite directions. Fox News, "2 pilots killed in Russian helicopter crash in Syria," 8 May 2018 Now, the Earth’s axis does wobble modestly in a 26,000-year cycle. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Mike Lynch: The harvest moon is shining bright this week," 15 Sep. 2019 Earth's axis is tilted most closely toward the sun. National Geographic, "What is the summer solstice? The answer might surprise you.," 20 June 2019 Instead of sun proximity, the seasons depend on the earth's spin axis, said Miami University associate professor of astronomy and physics Stephen Alexander. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Summer solstice: What is it and why does it happen?," 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

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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