obliq·​ui·​ty | \ ō-ˈbli-kwə-tē How to pronounce obliquity (audio) , ə- \
plural obliquities

Definition of obliquity

1 : deviation from moral rectitude or sound thinking
2a : deviation from parallelism or perpendicularity also : the amount of such deviation
b : the angle between the planes of the earth's equator and orbit having a value of about 23°27′ obliquity of the ecliptic
3a : indirectness or deliberate obscurity of speech or conduct
b : an obscure or confusing statement

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Examples of obliquity in a Sentence

her poetry is sure to satisfy those readers who readily confuse obliquity with profundity
Recent Examples on the Web It’s not a question of subtlety, which the stage can accommodate, but obliquity, which feels like an evasion of theater’s confrontational power. Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2021 Ice ages are caused when the tilt of a planet's axis shifts, known as obliquity, so these distinct ice ages formed separately to reflect times when Mars essentially wobbled on its axis. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 20 Jan. 2021 The planet's own motion dynamics dominate other influences, and obliquity usually has a smaller variation. Fox News, 20 Nov. 2019 Its obliquity nods up and down this way between 22.1º and 24.5º regularly every 41,000 years. The Economist, 5 July 2018 Mars’ obliquity—or the tilt of its axis—has varied considerably over millions of years, shifting between 15 and 35 degrees over the course of millennia. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 12 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obliquity.' 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 obliquity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obliquity

Middle English obliquite "slanted or crooked state," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French obliquité, borrowed from Latin oblīquitāt-, oblīquitās "condition of being at an angle, slant," from oblīquus "slanting, oblique entry 1" + -itāt-, -itās -ity

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Time Traveler for obliquity

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The first known use of obliquity was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obliquity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obliquity. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for obliquity


obliq·​ui·​ty | \ ō-ˈblik-wət-ē, ə- How to pronounce obliquity (audio) \
plural obliquities

Medical Definition of obliquity

: the quality or state of being oblique : deviation from parallelism or perpendicularity also : the amount of such deviation

More from Merriam-Webster on obliquity

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obliquity


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