or·​thog·​o·​nal | \ ȯr-ˈthä-gə-nᵊl How to pronounce orthogonal (audio) \

Definition of orthogonal

1a : intersecting or lying at right angles In orthogonal cutting, the cutting edge is perpendicular to the direction of tool travel.
b : having perpendicular slopes or tangents at the point of intersection orthogonal curves
2 : having a sum of products or an integral (see integral entry 1 sense 1b) that is zero or sometimes one under specified conditions: such as
a of real-valued functions : having the integral of the product of each pair of functions over a specific interval equal to zero
b of vectors : having the scalar product equal to zero
c of a square matrix : having the sum of products of corresponding elements in any two rows or any two columns equal to one if the rows or columns are the same and equal to zero otherwise : having a transpose with which the product equals the identity matrix
3 of a linear transformation : having a matrix (see matrix sense 5a) that is orthogonal : preserving length and distance
4 : composed of mutually orthogonal elements an orthogonal basis of a vector space
5 : statistically independent mental ability may be classified into several orthogonal … factors— O. D. Duncan
6 : orthographic sense 1 orthogonal projection

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Other Words from orthogonal

orthogonality \ ȯr-​ˌthä-​gə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce orthogonal (audio) \ noun
orthogonally \ ȯr-​ˈthä-​gə-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce orthogonal (audio) \ adverb

Examples of orthogonal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lines accreted in an essentially radial configuration, with large arcs orbiting an absent central axis, and orthogonal spokes sprouting from the core. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Julie Mehretu’s Long Journey Home," 25 Mar. 2021 This placed an undue burden on trustees and money managers to chase social goals which are orthogonal to the single focus of providing financial value to retirees. Jerry Bowyer, National Review, "Reining in the Proxies," 15 Oct. 2020 This is a complex procedural question that's orthogonal to questions about the copyright status of APIs. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google’s Supreme Court faceoff with Oracle was a disaster for Google," 8 Oct. 2020 It is moved in a straight line (orthogonal or diagonal) to the first vacant intersection beyond the men, and the men so jumped are immediately removed. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 The methods developed so far really think about genetics and environment as separate and orthogonal, as independent factors. Quanta Magazine, "New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes," 23 Apr. 2019 Modern stories frequently plunge us into lengthy interior monologues, exhaustively describe settings and people’s physical features, delight in the random, absurd, and orthogonal, and end with deliberate ambiguity. Ferris Jabr, Harper's magazine, "The Story of Storytelling," 10 Mar. 2019 The first-generation Jetta (1980), designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign, was an orthogonal paragon of cheap-car virtue. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Volkswagen Jetta: Return of the Great Cheap Car," 10 Aug. 2018 In addition to photos, the system will pull its imagery from sources such as commercial satellite and orthogonal imagery. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "US spy lab hopes to geotag every outdoor photo on social media," 16 Mar. 2018

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

circa 1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for orthogonal

Middle French, from Latin orthogonius, from Greek orthogōnios, from orth- + gōnia angle — more at -gon

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Time Traveler for orthogonal

Time Traveler

The first known use of orthogonal was circa 1560

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Statistics for orthogonal

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Orthogonal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orthogonal. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for orthogonal


or·​thog·​o·​nal | \ ȯr-ˈthäg-ən-ᵊl How to pronounce orthogonal (audio) \

Medical Definition of orthogonal

1a : lying or intersecting at right angles
b : being, using, or made with three ECG leads whose axes are perpendicular to each other and to the frontal, horizontal, and sagittal axes of the body the three orthogonal leads were recorded simultaneously on magnetic tape— Massoud Nemati et al.
2 : statistically independent mental ability may be classified into several orthogonal…factors— O. D. Duncan

More from Merriam-Webster on orthogonal

Britannica English: Translation of orthogonal for Arabic Speakers

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