osculate

verb
os·​cu·​late | \ ˈä-skyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce osculate (audio) \
osculated; osculating

Definition of osculate

Osculate and Geometry

Osculate comes from the Latin noun osculum, meaning "kiss" or "little mouth." It was included in a dictionary of "hard" words in 1656, but we have no evidence that anyone actually used it until the 19th century—except for scientists who used it differently to mean "to have contact with." Today, osculate is used in geometry for the action of a pair of curves or surfaces that touch so that they have a common tangent at the point of contact. When osculate is used to mean "kiss," the context is typically humorous.

First Known Use of osculate

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for osculate

Latin osculatus, past participle of osculari, from osculum kiss, from diminutive of os mouth — more at oral

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About osculate

Time Traveler for osculate

Time Traveler

The first known use of osculate was circa 1656

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About osculate

Statistics for osculate

Cite this Entry

“Osculate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/osculate. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on osculate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for osculate

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!