Definition of trajectory
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
the trajectory of the missile
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
First Known Use: 1696
TRAJECTORY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of trajectory for English Language Learners
: the curved path along which something (such as a rocket) moves through the air or through space
Seen and Heard
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