obliq·​ui·​ty ō-ˈbli-kwə-tē How to pronounce obliquity (audio)
plural obliquities
: deviation from moral rectitude or sound thinking
: deviation from parallelism or perpendicularity
also : the amount of such deviation
: the angle between the planes of the earth's equator and orbit having a value of about 23°27′
obliquity of the ecliptic
: indirectness or deliberate obscurity of speech or conduct
: an obscure or confusing statement

Example Sentences

her poetry is sure to satisfy those readers who readily confuse obliquity with profundity
Recent Examples on the Web These two measurements are useful because the Cassini State Model describes a reliable correlation between a moon's obliquity to its moment of inertia. Patrick Morgan, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2011 The second cycle is related to gradual changes in the Earth’s inclination, or obliquity. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 30 Sep. 2022 Milkankovich obliquity frequency for the most recent sediment. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 8 Jan. 2013 This might suggest that a truer study of the psyche and its place in the world could be conducted via indirection or obliquity. Matthew Bevis, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Feb. 2022 But Ulman’s fondness for understatement and obliquity makes the scene funny in a very deadpan way. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Nov. 2021 His empathy, obliquity and narrative economy invite comparisons with Chekhov. Boyd Tonkin, WSJ, 22 Oct. 2021 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 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near obliquity

Cite this Entry

“Obliquity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obliquity. Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


obliq·​ui·​ty ō-ˈblik-wət-ē, ə- How to pronounce obliquity (audio)
plural obliquities
: the quality or state of being oblique : deviation from parallelism or perpendicularity
also : the amount of such deviation

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