trajectory

noun tra·jec·to·ry \ trə-ˈjek-t(ə-)rē \
Updated on: 4 Dec 2017

Definition of trajectory

plural trajectories
1 : the curve that a body (such as a planet or comet in its orbit or a rocket) describes in space
2 : a path, progression, or line of development resembling a physical trajectory
  • an upward career trajectory

Examples of trajectory in a Sentence

  1. the trajectory of the missile

Recent Examples of trajectory from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Formed with part of the prefix trans-, "across", trajectory means a "hurling across". By calculating the effect of gravity and other forces, the trajectory of an object launched into space at a known speed can be computed precisely. Missiles stand a chance of hitting their target only if their trajectory has been plotted accurately. The word is used most often in physics and engineering, but not always; we can also say, for example, that the trajectory of a whole life may be set in a person's youth, or that a new book traces the long trajectory of the French empire.

Origin and Etymology of trajectory

New Latin trajectoria, from feminine of trajectorius of passing, from Latin traicere to cause to cross, cross, from trans-, tra- trans- + jacere to throw — more at jet


TRAJECTORY Defined for English Language Learners

trajectory

noun

Definition of trajectory for English Language Learners

  • : the curved path along which something (such as a rocket) moves through the air or through space



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