vector

noun
vec·​tor | \ ˈvek-tər How to pronounce vector (audio) \

Definition of vector

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a quantity that has magnitude and direction and that is commonly represented by a directed line segment whose length represents the magnitude and whose orientation in space represents the direction broadly : an element of a vector space
b : a course or compass direction especially of an airplane
2a : an organism (such as an insect) that transmits a pathogen
3 : an agent (such as a plasmid or virus) that contains or carries modified genetic material (such as recombinant DNA) and can be used to introduce exogenous genes into the genome of an organism

vector

verb
vectored; vectoring\ ˈvek-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce vectoring (audio) \

Definition of vector (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to guide (something or someone, such as an airplane, its pilot, or a missile) in flight by means of a radioed vector
2 : to change the direction of (the thrust of a jet engine) for steering

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from vector

Noun

vector adjective
vectorial \ vek-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce vectorial (audio) \ adjective
vectorially \ vek-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce vectorially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of vector in a Sentence

Noun

a mosquito that is the principal vector of yellow fever

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Like a mosquito that spreads malaria, a plane can be a disease vector, too. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "What happens on plane full of sick passengers? An aerospace medicine expert explains," 6 Sep. 2018 By not allowing save data to move off of the Switch in any way, Nintendo likely hopes to thwart that potential hardware attack vector this time around. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Nintendo Switch cloud save data disappears if you cancel subscription," 14 Sep. 2018 The new gene is transported into the relevant area by a viral vector, which experts liken to a taxi cab. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "A Vision Quest," 6 Mar. 2019 Aftosa is foot-and-mouth disease: There is reason to fear that the highway would become a vector for it. Charles R. Morris, WSJ, "‘The Longest Line on the Map’ Review: The End of the Road," 8 Jan. 2019 Proprietary Wi-Fi at these hotels could be a vector of attack. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Marriott breach leaves 500 million exposed with passport, card numbers stolen," 30 Nov. 2018 And a couple more notes: The ω is the angular velocity vector. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Let's Use Physics to Model a Curving Soccer Ball," 24 June 2018 Other changes include specialized instructions to improve performance of vector processing, compression, and decompression. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Surprise! Intel reveals 10nm Sunny Cove CPU cores that go deeper, wider, and faster," 12 Dec. 2018 Whirlwind was intended to track enemy aircraft, predict their course, and vector fighters to intercept them. Phil Lapsley, WSJ, "‘The Cryotron Files’ Review: Taking the Cold War to Subzero," 11 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Modern thrust vectoring technology employs a movable thrust nozzle in place of the paddles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China's New Upgrade Makes Its Fighter Jets Wildly Maneuverable," 7 Nov. 2018 Independent motors for each wheel grant the C_Two all-wheel torque vectoring (R-AWTV), and a dial inside the cabin can control the torque bias in 10 percent increments. The R-AWTV is just one of numerous advanced systems aboard the C_Two. Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "With 1888 HP, the Rimac C_Two Puts Croatia on the Supercar Map," 7 Mar. 2018 An electric motor at each axle provides the all-wheel-drive Cross Turismo with a combined 590 horsepower as well as torque-vectoring abilities. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, "Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Concept: It's an Electric Porsche Wagon," 6 Mar. 2018 Torque vectoring all-wheel drive is a $2,200 option with either engine. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2018 Kia Stinger GT2: The Best German Car to Come Out of South Korea," 6 Apr. 2018 Powertrains are unchanged from current Quadrifoglio spec, meaning that both vehicles carry the 505-hp twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 engine, eight-speed ZF transmission, and Alfa’s torque-vectoring differential and Chassis Domain Control system. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "NRING the Dragon: Nurburgring Edition Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglios Revealed," 5 Mar. 2018 View 24 Photos Honda-philes will be thrilled to learn the 2019 RDX marks the return of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive to the RDX. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2019 Acura RDX Crossover: Return of the Turbocharged Four," 29 Mar. 2018 The QF’s handling is also aided by a torque-vectoring rear differential that can send 100 percent of the torque to either rear wheel, as traction and driving modes dictate. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio," 3 Mar. 2018 The Super Hornets conferred with the USS Princeton and were vectored to a CAP point 60 miles away. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Time the U.S. Navy Had a Close Encounter With a UFO," 18 Dec. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of vector

Noun

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1941, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vector

Noun

earlier, short for radius vector, borrowed from Latin, "carrier, conveyer," from vec-, alternate stem of vehere "to convey, carry" + -tor, agent suffix — more at way entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vector

Statistics for vector

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vector

The first known use of vector was in 1846

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vector

vector

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vector

mathematics : a quantity (such as velocity) that has size and direction
technical : the course or direction of an airplane
biology : an insect, animal, etc., that carries germs that cause disease

vector

noun
vec·​tor | \ ˈvek-tər How to pronounce vector (audio) \

Kids Definition of vector

: a living thing (as a mosquito, fly, or tick) that carries and passes on a disease-causing microorganism

vector

noun
vec·​tor | \ ˈvek-tər How to pronounce vector (audio) \

Medical Definition of vector

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a quantity that has magnitude and direction and that is usually represented by part of a straight line with the given direction and with a length representing the magnitude
2 : an organism (as an insect) that transmits a pathogen from one organism or source to another fleas are vectors of plague — compare carrier sense 1a
3 : an agent (as a plasmid or virus) that contains or carries modified genetic material (as recombinant DNA) and can be used to introduce exogenous genes into the genome of an organism

Other Words from vector

vectorial \ vek-​ˈtōr-​ē-​əl, -​ˈtȯr-​ How to pronounce vectorial (audio) \ adjective
vectored; vectoring\ -​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce vectoring (audio) \

Medical Definition of vector (Entry 2 of 2)

: to transmit (a pathogen or disease) from one organism to another : act as a vector for a disease vectored by flies

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on vector

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vector

Nglish: Translation of vector for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vector for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vector

Comments on vector

What made you want to look up vector? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!