cat·​e·​nary | \ ˈka-tə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce catenary (audio) , -ˌne-rē, especially British kə-ˈtē-nə-rē \
plural catenaries

Definition of catenary

1 : the curve assumed by a cord of uniform density and cross section that is perfectly flexible but not capable of being stretched and that hangs freely from two fixed points
2 : something in the form of a catenary

Other Words from catenary

catenary adjective

Examples of catenary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fuel cells are an attractive way to electrify rail lines where adding a third rail or catenary is unworkable or cost-prohibitive, and GM is working with train-maker Wabtec to adapt GM's Hydrotec fuel cell platform to power freight locomotives. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 20 Apr. 2022 Their catenaries hug the curves in Sheree Hovsepian’s photograms, layered with stretches of arced pantyhose in what might be called femme modernism. Lori Waxman,, 31 May 2018 The steel catenary riser also takes up less deck space. Ryan Maye Handy, Houston Chronicle, 2 May 2018 From the main entrance near Broad and Noble Streets, the trail switchbacks past urban glades, clusters of benches, reimagined steel catenaries, and a public art sculpture that resembles (much too literally) a telephone pole. Inga Saffron,, 19 Apr. 2018 Click on a title like catenary-on-azure, and you’ll be directed to a webpage where a single catenary chain multiplies into dozens and then hundreds, forming a beating circular GIF made from hundreds of individual GIFs. Liz Stinson, WIRED, 8 Oct. 2014

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

First Known Use of catenary

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catenary

New Latin catenaria, from Latin, feminine of catenarius of a chain, from catena

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The first known use of catenary was in 1788

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Catenary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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