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

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 This direction favors subsequent hydraulic fractures being orthogonal to the well. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Our approach is orthogonal to existing work that focuses on improving hardware and software efficiency. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2022 Wi-Fi 6 improves MU-MIMO and introduces OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) enabling a single transmission to deliver data to multiple devices at once. Simon Hill, Wired, 31 Jan. 2022 But anything that conducts an electric field also conducts a magnetic field in the orthogonal direction. James Conca, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 Each of those diverse ideas is loaded with preconceived notions, biases, tangential or orthogonal associations. Jerry Weissman, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 Shoup’s own project, called SuperPaint, was orthogonal to that effort, and not universally blessed. Steven Levy, Wired, 31 Aug. 2021 Relativity, a lithograph print by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, portrays a world with three orthogonal sources of gravity, in which people climb and descend stairwells that seem to go uphill both ways. Stephen Macknik, Scientific American, 1 May 2021 This use of orthogonal coding to separate and protect information in the brain has been seen before. Quanta Magazine, 15 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near orthogonal



orthogonal functions

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Statistics for orthogonal

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Orthogonal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orthogonal. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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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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