Try Our Apps


Blech. These are the grossest words.


[vek-ter] /ˈvɛk tər/
  1. a quantity possessing both magnitude and direction, represented by an arrow the direction of which indicates the direction of the quantity and the length of which is proportional to the magnitude.
    Compare scalar (def 4).
  2. such a quantity with the additional requirement that such quantities obey the parallelogram law of addition.
  3. such a quantity with the additional requirement that such quantities are to transform in a particular way under changes of the coordinate system.
  4. any generalization of the above quantities.
the direction or course followed by an airplane, missile, or the like.
  1. an insect or other organism that transmits a pathogenic fungus, virus, bacterium, etc.
  2. any agent that acts as a carrier or transporter, as a virus or plasmid that conveys a genetically engineered DNA segment into a host cell.
Computers. an array of data ordered such that individual items can be located with a single index or subscript.
verb (used with object)
Aeronautics. to guide (an aircraft) in flight by issuing appropriate headings.
Aerospace. to change direction of (the thrust of a jet or rocket engine) in order to steer the craft.
Origin of vector
1695-1705; < Latin: one that conveys, equivalent to vec-, variant stem of vehere to carry + -tor -tor
Related forms
[vek-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /vɛkˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
vectorially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for vector
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for vector


(maths) Also called polar vector. a variable quantity, such as force, that has magnitude and direction and can be resolved into components that are odd functions of the coordinates. It is represented in print by a bold italic symbol: F or ̄F Compare pseudoscalar, pseudovector, scalar (sense 1), tensor (sense 2)
(maths) an element of a vector space
(pathol) Also called carrier. an organism, esp an insect, that carries a disease-producing microorganism from one host to another, either within or on the surface of its body
(genetics) Also called cloning vector. an agent, such as a bacteriophage or a plasmid, by means of which a fragment of foreign DNA is inserted into a host cell to produce a gene clone in genetic engineering
the course or compass direction of an aircraft
any behavioural influence, force, or drive
verb (transitive)
to direct or guide (a pilot, aircraft, etc) by directions transmitted by radio
to alter the direction of (the thrust of a jet engine) as a means of steering an aircraft
Derived Forms
vectorial (vɛkˈtɔːrɪəl) adjective
vectorially, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: carrier, from vehere to convey
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for vector

"quantity having magnitude and direction," 1704, from Latin vector "one who carries or conveys, carrier," from past participle stem of vehere "carry, convey" (see vehicle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
vector in Medicine

vector vec·tor (věk'tər)

  1. An organism, such as a mosquito or tick, that carries disease-causing microorganisms from one host to another.

  2. A bacteriophage, a plasmid, or another agent that transfers genetic material from one location to another.

  3. A quantity, such as velocity, completely specified by a magnitude and a direction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
vector in Science
  1. A quantity, such as the velocity of an object or the force acting on an object, that has both magnitude and direction. Compare scalar.

  2. An organism, such as a mosquito or tick, that spreads pathogens from one host to another.

  3. A bacteriophage, plasmid, or other agent that transfers genetic material from one cell to another.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
vector in Culture

vector definition

In physics and mathematics, any quantity with both a magnitude and a direction. For example, velocity is a vector because it describes both how fast something is moving and in what direction it is moving. Because velocity is a vector, other quantities in which velocity is a factor, such as acceleration and momentum, are vectors also.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
vector in Technology

1. A member of a vector space.
2. A line or movement defined by its end points, or by the current position and one other point. See vector graphics.
3. A memory location containing the address of some code, often some kind of exception handler or other operating system service. By changing the vector to point to a different piece of code it is possible to modify the behaviour of the operating system.
Compare hook.
4. A one-dimensional array.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for vector

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for vector

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for vector