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[vur-teks] /ˈvɜr tɛks/
noun, plural vertexes, vertices
[vur-tuh-seez] /ˈvɜr təˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
the highest point of something; apex; summit; top:
the vertex of a mountain.
Anatomy, Zoology. the crown or top of the head.
Craniometry. the highest point on the midsagittal plane of the skull or head viewed from the left side when the skull or head is in the Frankfurt horizontal.
Astronomy. a point in the celestial sphere toward which or from which the common motion of a group of stars is directed.
  1. the point farthest from the base:
    the vertex of a cone or of a pyramid.
  2. a point in a geometrical solid common to three or more sides.
  3. the intersection of two sides of a plane figure.
Origin of vertex
1560-70; < Latin: a whirl, top (of the head), equivalent to vert(ere) to turn + -ex (stem -ic-) noun suffix
Can be confused
vertex, vortex. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for vertex


noun (pl) -texes, -tices (-tɪˌsiːz)
the highest point
  1. the point opposite the base of a figure
  2. the point of intersection of two sides of a plane figure or angle
  3. the point of intersection of a pencil of lines or three or more planes of a solid figure
(astronomy) a point in the sky towards which a star stream appears to move
(anatomy) the crown of the head
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: highest point, from vertere to turn
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 vertex

1560s, "the point opposite the base in geometry," from Latin vertex "highest point," literally "the turning point," originally "whirling column, whirlpool," from vertere "to turn" (see versus). Meaning "highest point of anything" is first attested 1641.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vertex in Medicine

vertex ver·tex (vûr'těks')
n. pl. ver·tex·es or ver·ti·ces (-tĭ-sēz')

  1. The highest point; the apex.

  2. The topmost point of the vault of the skull; the crown of the head.

  3. The portion of the fetal head bounded by the planes of the trachelobregmatic and biparietal diameters, with the posterior fontanel at the apex.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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vertex in Science
Plural vertices (vûr'tĭ-sēz') or vertexes
  1. The point at which the sides of an angle intersect.

  2. The point of a triangle, cone, or pyramid that is opposite to and farthest away from its base.

  3. A point of a polyhedron at which three or more of the edges intersect.

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