ver·​ti·​cal | \ ˈvər-ti-kəl How to pronounce vertical (audio) \

Definition of vertical

1a : perpendicular to the plane of the horizon or to a primary axis : upright
b(1) : located at right angles to the plane of a supporting surface
(2) : lying in the direction of an axis : lengthwise
2a : situated at the highest point : directly overhead or in the zenith
b of an aerial photograph : taken with the camera pointing straight down or nearly so
3a : relating to, involving, or integrating economic activity from basic production to point of sale a vertical monopoly
b : of, relating to, or comprising persons of different status the vertical arrangement of society
4 medical : relating to or being transmission (as of a disease) by genetic inheritance or by a congenital or perinatal route vertical inheritance … decreasing the rate of vertical transmission of HIV to the fetus by two-thirds, so that the numbers of children with the condition are diminishing.— Cynthia B. Cohen — compare horizontal sense 3

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Other Words from vertical

vertical noun
verticality \ ˌvər-​tə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce vertical (audio) \ noun
vertically \ ˈvər-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce vertical (audio) \ adverb
verticalness \ ˈvər-​ti-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce vertical (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vertical

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 vertical in a Sentence

a shirt with vertical stripes the vertical axis of a graph
Recent Examples on the Web Roman gods-themed, Pantheon will include two inversions; a top-hat hill; a beyond-vertical, 95-degree drop; and a spike that will send riders racing up and plunging backwards. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Most-anticipated roller coasters of 2021 at Universal Orlando, on a Carnival cruise ship and more," 22 Dec. 2020 With a surprisingly graceful motion, the prototype flipped back to a vertical position with the reignition of two of its engines, and in a green-white blaze of exhaust came in for a retrorocket landing worthy of Flash Gordon. Joe Pappalardo, Science, "Fiery crash of SpaceX's Starship rocket ignites dreams of future spaceflight," 10 Dec. 2020 The runs at Spirit have mapped the lines in a way that maximize the area’s vertical drop of almost 700 feet — remarkably satiating my Heartland need for a run longer than 30 seconds. Star Tribune, "Here’s what you need to know to ski safely this season despite the coronavirus pandemic.," 5 Dec. 2020 The gearshifter has also been moved from its vertical position to just below the infotainment screen and now takes the piano-key form that Lincoln has introduced across its lineup. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "2021 Lincoln Nautilus Gets a Vastly Redesigned Interior, New Tech," 20 Nov. 2020 The slope consists of four full acres and a 160-foot vertical drop, and 1,000 feet of length for skiers. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Hit the Slopes in a Whole New Way at North America's Only Indoor Ski Center," 21 Oct. 2020 Of pitchers who have thrown at least 100 changeups this season, Valdez is one of only two who have averaged 50 inches of vertical drop on the pitch, according to Statcast. Nathan Ruiz,, "How César Valdez’s ‘dead fish’ changeup became a weapon at the backend of the Orioles' bullpen," 19 Sep. 2020 Each of the 3,142 U.S. counties is represented by a single vertical line. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "One in six Americans could go hungry in 2020 as pandemic persists," 24 Nov. 2020 The vertical route down the seam forces safety Anthony Harris to keep his depth, while Gladney (#20) is left alone on Cooper (#19) and loses in a tough spot. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Film review: How crossed wires busted the Vikings secondary again in Cowboys loss," 24 Nov. 2020

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

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First Known Use of vertical

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for vertical

Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin verticalis, from Latin vertic-, vertex

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Time Traveler for vertical

Time Traveler

The first known use of vertical was in 1559

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Statistics for vertical

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vertical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for vertical


How to pronounce vertical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vertical

: positioned up and down rather than from side to side : going straight up
: having a structure in which there are top, middle, and bottom levels


ver·​ti·​cal | \ ˈvər-ti-kəl How to pronounce vertical (audio) \

Kids Definition of vertical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: rising straight up and down from a level surface

Other Words from vertical

vertically adverb



Kids Definition of vertical (Entry 2 of 2)

: something (as a line or plane) that rises straight up and down


ver·​ti·​cal | \ ˈvərt-i-kəl How to pronounce vertical (audio) \

Medical Definition of vertical

: relating to or being transmission (as of a disease) by genetic inheritance or by a congenital or perinatal route vertical transmission of the hepatitis B virus from mother to infant vertical inheritance — compare horizontal sense 2

Other Words from vertical

vertically \ ˈvərt-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce vertical (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on vertical

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