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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rotational
Historical Examples
  • The rotational speed of Earth at this latitude is seven-seven-eight.

    Space Tug Murray Leinster
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • It is important to distinguish between two types of strain: the “rotational” type and the “irrotational” type.

  • At the same time the tidal influence of the earth was lessening the rotational movement of the moon.

    The Story of Evolution Joseph McCabe
  • He also showed29 that this “rotational elasticity” can be produced by certain hidden rotations going on in the medium.

  • Hence in order to keep up the rotational momentum, which as we have seen must remain constant, the mass must rotate quicker.

    Darwin and Modern Science A.C. Seward and Others
  • We spiralled down around it, looking for a landing place and trying to match our speed with its rotational velocity.

    Out Around Rigel Robert H. Wilson
  • How can one who is ignorant of the existence and characteristics of rotational inertia understand a galvanometer?

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
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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