Definition of trajectory
- an upward career trajectory
the trajectory of the missile
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.
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.
: the curved path along which something (such as a rocket) moves through the air or through space
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