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See more synonyms for ortho on Thesaurus.com
adjective Chemistry.
  1. pertaining to or occupying two adjacent positions in the benzene ring.Compare meta2, para3.
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Origin of ortho

First recorded in 1875–80; independent use of ortho-


  1. a combining form occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “straight,” “upright,” “right,” “correct” (orthodox) and on this model used in the formation of compound words (orthopedic).
  2. Chemistry.
    1. a combining form used in the name of that acid in a given series of acids that contains the most water (orthoboric acid).Compare meta-, pyro-.
    2. a combining form used in the names of the salts of these acids: if the acid ends in -ic, the corresponding salt ends in -ate (orthoboric acid (H3BO3) and potassium orthoborate (K3BO3)); if the acid ends in -ous, the corresponding salt ends in -ite (orthoantimonous acid (H3SbO3) and potassium orthoantimonite (K3SbO3)).
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Also especially before a vowel, orth-.

Origin of ortho-

< Greek, combining form of orthós straight, upright, correct
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ortho

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British Dictionary definitions for ortho


before a vowel orth-

combining form
  1. straight or uprightorthotropous
  2. perpendicular or at right anglesorthoclastic
  3. correct or rightorthodontics; orthodox; orthography; orthoptics
  4. (often in italics) denoting an organic compound containing a benzene ring with substituents attached to adjacent carbon atoms (the 1,2- positions)orthodinitrobenzene Abbreviation: o- Compare oarsman Compare oarsman
  5. denoting an oxyacid regarded as the highest hydrated form of the anhydride or a salt of such an acidorthophosphoric acid See meta- (def. 6)
  6. denoting a diatomic substance in which the spins of the two atoms are parallelorthohydrogen See para- 1 (def. 8)
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Word Origin

from Greek orthos straight, right, upright
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 ortho


before vowels orth-, word-forming element meaning "straight, upright, rectangular, regular; true, correct, proper," now mostly in scientific and technical compounds, from Greek ortho-, stem of orthos "straight, true, correct, regular," from PIE *eredh- "high" (cf. Sanskrit urdhvah "high, lofty, steep," Latin arduus "high, steep," Old Irish ard "high").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ortho in Medicine


  1. Straight; upright; vertical:orthotropic.
  2. Correct; correction:orthopsychiatry.
  3. Hydrated form of an acid or of its salts:orthoboric acid.
  4. Diatomic molecules in which the nuclei have the same direction of spin:orthohydrogen.
  5. Of or relating to one of three possible isomers of a benzene ring with adjacent carbon atoms having attached chemical groups:ortho-dibromobenzene.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.