orbital

[awr-bi-tl]
See more synonyms for orbital on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Physics, Chemistry.
    1. a wave function describing the state of a single electron in an atom (atomic orbital) or in a molecule (molecular orbital).
    2. the electron in that state.

Origin of orbital

1535–45; < New Latin, Medieval Latin orbitālis; see orbit, -al1
Related formsin·ter·or·bi·tal, adjectivein·ter·or·bi·tal·ly, adverbpre·or·bit·al, adjectivesu·per·or·bit·al, adjectivetrans·or·bi·tal, adjectiveun·or·bi·tal, adjectiveun·or·bi·tal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for orbital

Contemporary Examples of orbital

  • These companies include SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, and more.

  • Now, Orbital Comics Gallery is seeking to address the issue through an exhibit titled 'Image Duplicator.'

    The Daily Beast logo
    Revenge of the Nerds!

    William O’Connor

    May 30, 2013

  • When it was over, Keith had been stabbed in the shoulder, and Brandon had a fractured eye socket and orbital wall.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Arnold Pardoned My Son’s Attacker

    Bruce Henderson

    May 11, 2011

  • They tell Sandra McElwaine about their orbital road trip ahead of Scott's liftoff this week.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Twins in Space!

    Sandra McElwaine

    October 3, 2010

  • Prepping for their joint venture, the siblings seem amazingly cool about their orbital road trip.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Twins in Space!

    Sandra McElwaine

    October 3, 2010

Historical Examples of orbital


British Dictionary definitions for orbital

orbital

adjective
  1. of or denoting an orbit
  2. (of a motorway or major road circuit) circling a large city
noun
  1. a region surrounding an atomic nucleus in which the probability distribution of the electrons is given by a wave function
  2. an orbital road
Derived Formsorbitally, adverb
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 orbital
adj.

1540s, with reference to eye sockets; 1839 with reference to heavenly bodies; from orbit (n.) + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

orbital in Medicine

orbital

[ôrbĭ-tl]
adj.
  1. Relating to an orbit.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

orbital in Science

orbital

[ôrbĭ-tl]
  1. A partial description of the quantum state of an electron (or other particle) orbiting the nucleus of an atom. Different orbitals have different shapes and orientations, depending on the energy of the electron, its angular momentum, and its magnetic number. Orbitals have no clear boundaries; the shape of an orbital, as depicted graphically, shows only the regions around the nucleus in which an electron has a relatively high probability of being found. No more than two electrons (each with opposite spin) can coexist in a single orbital because of the Pauli exclusion principle. See also probability wave quantum number shell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.