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geodesic

[jee-uh-des-ik, -dee-sik]
adjective
  1. Also ge·o·des·i·cal. pertaining to the geometry of curved surfaces, in which geodesic lines take the place of the straight lines of plane geometry.
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noun
  1. geodesic line.
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Origin of geodesic

From the French word géodésique, dating back to 1815–25. See geodesy, -ic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for geodesic

Historical Examples of geodesic

  • The world line of a ray of light is a geodesic in the continuum.

    Astounding Stories, March, 1931

    Various

  • His experiments on the pendulum and Geodesic surveys rendered him famous.


British Dictionary definitions for geodesic

geodesic

adjective
  1. Also: geodetic, geodesical relating to or involving the geometry of curved surfaces
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noun
  1. Also called: geodesic line the shortest line between two points on a curved or plane surface
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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

Word Origin and History for geodesic

adj.

1821, from geodesy "surveying" + -ic. Alternative adjective form geodetic is from 1834; geodetical is from c.1600. Geodesic dome attested from 1953.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

geodesic in Science

geodesic

[jē′ə-dĕsĭk, -dēsĭk]
Noun
  1. A curve that locally minimizes the distance between two points on any mathematically defined space, such as a curved manifold. Equivalently, it is a path of minimal curvature. In noncurved three-dimensional space, the geodesic is a straight line. In General Relativity, the trajectory of a body with negligible mass on which only gravitational forces are acting (i.e. a free falling body) is a geodesic in (curved) 4-dimensional space-time.
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Adjective
  1. Of or relating to the branch of geometry that deals with geodesics.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.