per·​pen·​dic·​u·​lar | \ ˌpər-pən-ˈdi-kyə-lər How to pronounce perpendicular (audio) \

Definition of perpendicular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : standing at right angles to the plane of the horizon : exactly upright
b : being at right angles to a given line or plane
2 : extremely steep : precipitous
3 often capitalized : of or relating to a medieval English Gothic style of architecture in which vertical lines predominate
4 : relating to, uniting, or consisting of individuals of dissimilar type or on different levels



Definition of perpendicular (Entry 2 of 2)

: a line at right angles to a line or plane (as of the horizon)

Other Words from perpendicular


perpendicularity \ ˌpər-​pən-​ˌdi-​kyə-​ˈler-​ə-​tē How to pronounce perpendicular (audio) , -​ˈla-​rə-​ \ noun
perpendicularly \ ˌpər-​pən-​ˈdi-​kyə-​lər-​lē How to pronounce perpendicular (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for perpendicular

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for perpendicular


vertical, perpendicular, plumb mean being at right angles to a base line. vertical suggests a line or direction rising straight upward toward a zenith. the side of the cliff is almost vertical perpendicular may stress the straightness of a line making a right angle with any other line, not necessarily a horizontal one. the parallel bars are perpendicular to the support posts plumb stresses an exact verticality determined (as with a plumb line) by earth's gravity. make sure that the wall is plumb

Examples of perpendicular in a Sentence

Adjective She lives on the street that is perpendicular to mine. river rafters staring awestruck at the canyon's nearly perpendicular cliffs
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In that block, which runs perpendicular to the The Alameda and is near Baltimore City College, officers found a 41-year-old man in a car. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 27 May 2022 To avoid an accident on a hill, Quinn advises mowing perpendicular to the grade of the hill and avoiding cutting parallel to the grade. Better Homes & Gardens, 16 May 2022 Here’s how to work the lateral sling and complete this move: ●Stand perpendicular against a wall. Perri O. Blumberg, Men's Health, 28 Apr. 2022 Flying perpendicular to the direction of the wind, their wings generate lift and pull even harder against the tether. Kurt Kleiner, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Apr. 2022 The Lever House is famous for its glass rectangular office tower set perpendicular to a two-floor base. Kate King, WSJ, 25 Jan. 2022 Let your free arm hang perpendicular to the ground, weight in hand. Esther Smith, Outside Online, 9 Jan. 2022 Later, a similar complaint was made from a residence on West Woods Road, which runs perpendicular to Kimberly Road. Christine Dempsey,, 18 Nov. 2021 Continue to pull your feet until your ankles are over your knees and your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, 19 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Position the prop perpendicular to your body and under your glutes so that its upper edge aligns with your iliac crests (the top ridges of your pelvis) below your low back. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, 2 Apr. 2020 For the first drill, called a garland drill, choose a gentle groomed run and ski perpendicular across the fall line, from one side of the run to the other. Frederick Dreier, Outside Online, 22 Feb. 2022 Place the vegetables on the grill perpendicular to the grates and cook until lightly charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021 Set the other sheet in the pan perpendicular to the first, pressing it into the edges., 25 May 2021 At the University of Maryland, the line at Terrapin’s Turf, a dance bar perpendicular to College Park's main drag, was loud and long Friday night. USA Today, 9 Sep. 2020 Marquis, rail-thin and wearing a sweater despite the heat, held court Tuesday under a balcony perpendicular to where the Treme-Lafitte Brass Band played up above on the second story. Keith Spera,, 6 Aug. 2020 Photos from the scene showed the plane perpendicular to highway lanes about 75 miles south of San Francisco. CBS News, 18 Feb. 2018 Photos from the scene showed the plane perpendicular to highway lanes about 75 miles south of San Francisco. CBS News, 18 Feb. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perpendicular.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of perpendicular


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1551, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perpendicular


Middle English perpendiculer, from Middle French, from Latin perpendicularis, from perpendiculum plumb line, from per- + pendēre to hang — more at pendant

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Time Traveler for perpendicular

Time Traveler

The first known use of perpendicular was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near perpendicular



perpendicular separation

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Statistics for perpendicular

Last Updated

6 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perpendicular.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for perpendicular


per·​pen·​dic·​u·​lar | \ ˌpər-pən-ˈdi-kyə-lər How to pronounce perpendicular (audio) \

Kids Definition of perpendicular

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : exactly vertical
2 : being at right angles to a line or surface The letter T is made with two perpendicular lines.

Other Words from perpendicular

perpendicularly adverb



Kids Definition of perpendicular (Entry 2 of 2)

: a line, surface, or position at right angles to another line, surface, or position

More from Merriam-Webster on perpendicular

Nglish: Translation of perpendicular for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perpendicular for Arabic Speakers


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