Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective perpendicular differ from other similar words?

The words plumb and vertical are common synonyms of perpendicular. While all three words mean "being at right angles to a base line," 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

When is plumb a more appropriate choice than perpendicular?

While in some cases nearly identical to perpendicular, plumb stresses an exact verticality determined (as with a plumb line) by earth's gravity.

make sure that the wall is plumb

When is it sensible to use vertical instead of perpendicular?

While the synonyms vertical and perpendicular are close in meaning, vertical suggests a line or direction rising straight upward toward a zenith.

the side of the cliff is almost vertical

Thesaurus Entries Near perpendicular

Cite this Entry

“Perpendicular.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on perpendicular

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