ver·ti·cal | \ˈvər-ti-kəl \

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 \ noun
vertically \ˈvər-ti-k(ə-)lē \ adverb
verticalness \ˈvər-ti-kəl-nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for vertical


erect, perpendicular, plumb, raised, stand-up, standing, upright, upstanding


flat, recumbent

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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

The Falcon 9 rocket that will carry TESS to space is vertical on the pad at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Successfully Launches TESS Space Telescope (Updated)," 18 Apr. 2018 Limiting access While the latest iteration of the plan drops the unpopular idea of vertical glass walls, there remains the issue of access to the plaza, which is owned by the city and has been for more than 100 years a busy urban square. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "Four proposed changes to Alamo Plaza likely to stir most debate," 16 June 2018 Climbers jam hands and feet into finger- and fist-width cracks to inch their way up the vertical wall. Fox News, "Masters of rock: Climbers at California's Yosemite shatter El Capitan's speed record," 6 June 2018 This downward trend can be explained by growing economies of scale and vertical integration. The Economist, "Big corporates’ quest to be hip is helping WeWork," 12 July 2018 Equipped with sensors, horizontal drilling runs parallel to formations containing oil and natural gas, an advancement that is often three to five times more productive than traditional vertical drilling. Rob Nikolewski,, "California's ranking as an oil-producing state is slipping," 12 July 2018 Not long after Wing started up in 2012, the team realized landing drones on the ground meant wasting energy on power-hungry vertical flight. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018 Trolling crankbaits and vertical fishing spoons along the dam has also resulted in fish over the 21 inch length limit. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes," 11 July 2018 The interactive program will air live from Anderson’s New York City newsroom in mobile-friendly vertical video. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Facebook’s first wave of ‘trustworthy’ news shows sure includes a lot of Fox News," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for vertical

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for vertical

The first known use of vertical was in 1559

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More Definitions for vertical



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 \

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 \

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 \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on vertical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vertical

Spanish Central: Translation of vertical

Nglish: Translation of vertical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vertical for Arabic Speakers

Comments on vertical

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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