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[pur-puh n-dik-yuh-ler] /ˌpɜr pənˈdɪk yə lər/
vertical; straight up and down; upright.
Geometry. meeting a given line or surface at right angles.
maintaining a standing or upright position; standing up.
having a sharp pitch or slope; steep.
(initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to the last style of English Gothic architecture, prevailing from the late 14th through the early 16th century and characterized by the use of predominantly vertical tracery, an overall linear, shallow effect, and fine intricate stonework.
a perpendicular line or plane.
an instrument for indicating the vertical line from any point.
an upright position.
a sharply pitched or precipitously steep mountain face.
moral virtue or uprightness; rectitude.
Nautical. either of two lines perpendicular to the keel line, base line, or designed water line of a vessel.
Origin of perpendicular
1350-1400; < Latin perpendiculāris vertical, equivalent to perpendicul(um) plumb line (see perpend2, -i-, -cule2) + -āris -ar1; replacing Middle English perpendiculer(e) (adj. and adv.) < Old French perpendiculiere
Related forms
perpendicularity, perpendicularness, noun
perpendicularly, adverb
nonperpendicular, adjective, noun
nonperpendicularly, adverb
nonperpendicularity, noun
unperpendicular, adjective
unperpendicularly, adverb
1. standing. See upright. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perpendicularity
Historical Examples
  • This perpendicularity we demand of all the figures in this picture of life.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The sense of perpendicularity, however, should constantly be cultivated.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • Your argument about the perpendicularity of the dike strikes me as good.

  • Parallell-equality is derived from perpendicularity, and is of neere affinity to it.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
  • perpendicularity was in the former attributed to lines considered in a surface.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
  • There is a curious sense of perpendicularity about these mountain rhapsodies.

  • In the conscious reasoning of both, however, is the condition of perpendicularity.

    The Mystery of Space Robert T. Browne
  • This is the fundamental property which forms the definition of perpendicularity.

    The Concept of Nature Alfred North Whitehead
  • We determine our perpendicularity by the apparent motions of objects.

    Zoonomia, Vol. I Erasmus Darwin
  • Here it is necessary, that we should be habituated to both these modes of motion in order to preserve our perpendicularity.

    Zoonomia, Vol. I Erasmus Darwin
British Dictionary definitions for perpendicularity


Also normal. at right angles to a horizontal plane
denoting, relating to, or having the style of Gothic architecture used in England during the 14th and 15th centuries, characterized by tracery having vertical lines, a four-centred arch, and fan vaulting
upright; vertical
(geometry) a line or plane perpendicular to another
any instrument used for indicating the vertical line through a given point
(mountaineering) a nearly vertical face
Derived Forms
perpendicularity (ˌpɜːpənˌdɪkjʊˈlærɪtɪ) noun
perpendicularly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin perpendiculāris, from perpendiculum a plumb line, from per- through + pendēre to hang
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perpendicularity



late 15c., from adverb (late 14c.), from Old French perpendiculer, from Latin perpendicularis "vertical, as a plumb line," from perpendiculum "plumb line," from perpendere "balance carefully," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + pendere "to weigh, to hang" (see pendant). As a noun from 1570s. Related: Perpendicularly; perpendicularity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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perpendicularity in Science
Adjective  Intersecting at or forming a right angle or right angles.

Noun  A line or plane that is perpendicular to a given line or plane.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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