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[roh-tey-shuh n] /roʊˈteɪ ʃən/
the act of rotating; a turning around as on an axis.
  1. the movement or path of the earth or a heavenly body turning on its axis.
  2. one complete turn of such a body.
regularly recurring succession, as of officials.
Agriculture. crop rotation.
  1. an operation that rotates a geometric figure about a fixed point.
  2. curl (def 14).
Pool. a game in which the balls are played in order by number.
Baseball. pitching rotation.
Origin of rotation
1545-55; < Latin rotātiōn- (stem of rotātiō) a rotation, rolling, equivalent to rotāt(us) (see rotate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
rotational, adjective
nonrotation, noun
nonrotational, adjective
unrotational, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for rotational
Historical Examples
  • Searching problems and discussion are instigated at once, and the notion of rotational equilibrium and force moments brought in.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • The rotational speed of Earth at this latitude is seven-seven-eight.

    Space Tug Murray Leinster
  • Quantitative experiments are furnished by the rotational counterpart of the Atwood machine.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • The total, however, of the rotational moment of momentum of the system barely reaches two per cent.

    Time and Tide Robert S. (Robert Stawell) Ball
  • This rotational motion is also found in the nebul and star clusters as well as in the stars and planets.

    Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis
  • What, then, is the effect of the rotational velocity of the surface of the earth on the atmosphere near to it?

    Aether and Gravitation William George Hooper
  • How can one who is ignorant of the existence and characteristics of rotational inertia understand a galvanometer?

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • It is important to distinguish between two types of strain: the “rotational” type and the “irrotational” type.

  • By this time the student should have found himself sufficiently prepared to take up problems of rotational motion.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • At the same time the tidal influence of the earth was lessening the rotational movement of the moon.

    The Story of Evolution Joseph McCabe
British Dictionary definitions for rotational


the act of rotating; rotary motion
a regular cycle of events in a set order or sequence
a planned sequence of cropping according to which the crops grown in successive seasons on the same land are varied so as to make a balanced demand on its resources of fertility
  1. a circular motion of a configuration about a given point or line, without a change in shape
  2. a transformation in which the coordinate axes are rotated by a fixed angle about the origin
  3. another name for curl (sense 11) Abbreviation (for sense 4c) rot
  1. the spinning motion of a body, such as a planet, about an internal axis Compare revolution (sense 5a)
  2. one complete turn in such motion
Derived Forms
rotational, adjective
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 rotational

1852, from rotation + -al (1).



1550s, from Latin rotationem (nominative rotatio) "a turning about in a circle," noun of action from past participle stem of rotare "turn round, revolve, whirl about, roll," from PIE *roto- (see rotary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rotational in Medicine

rotation ro·ta·tion (rō-tā'shən)

  1. The act or process of turning around a center or an axis.

  2. Regular and uniform variation in a sequence or series, as in the recurrence of symptoms of a disease.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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rotational in Science
  1. The motion of an object around an internal axis.

  2. A single complete cycle of such motion. See Note at revolution.

  3. A transformation of a coordinate system in which the new axes have a specified angular displacement from their original position while the origin remains fixed.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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