1. vertical; straight up and down; upright.
  2. Geometry. meeting a given line or surface at right angles.
  3. maintaining a standing or upright position; standing up.
  4. having a sharp pitch or slope; steep.
  5. (initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to the last style of English Gothic architecture, prevailing from the late 14th through the early 16th century and characterized by the use of predominantly vertical tracery, an overall linear, shallow effect, and fine intricate stonework.
  1. a perpendicular line or plane.
  2. an instrument for indicating the vertical line from any point.
  3. an upright position.
  4. a sharply pitched or precipitously steep mountain face.
  5. moral virtue or uprightness; rectitude.
  6. Nautical. either of two lines perpendicular to the keel line, base line, or designed water line of a vessel.

Origin of perpendicular

1350–1400; < Latin perpendiculāris vertical, equivalent to perpendicul(um) plumb line (see perpend2, -i-, -cule2) + -āris -ar1; replacing Middle English perpendiculer(e) (adj. and adv.) < Old French perpendiculiere
Related formsper·pen·dic·u·lar·i·ty, per·pen·dic·u·lar·ness, nounper·pen·dic·u·lar·ly, adverbnon·per·pen·dic·u·lar, adjective, nounnon·per·pen·dic·u·lar·ly, adverbnon·per·pen·dic·u·lar·i·ty, nounun·per·pen·dic·u·lar, adjectiveun·per·pen·dic·u·lar·ly, adverb

Synonyms for perpendicular

1. standing. See upright. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for perpendicularly

Historical Examples of perpendicularly

  • There are two paladins who can be cut in half, one horizontally and other perpendicularly.

    Diversions in Sicily

    H. Festing Jones

  • I then cut them perpendicularly by other lines that I draw from the top to the bottom of the page.

  • Knots to inch horizontally six to nine; perpendicularly, eight to fourteen.

    Oriental Rugs

    Walter A. Hawley

  • Knots to inch horizontally, eight to eleven; perpendicularly, nine to twelve.

    Oriental Rugs

    Walter A. Hawley

  • Knots to inch horizontally eleven to twenty; perpendicularly, eleven to twenty.

    Oriental Rugs

    Walter A. Hawley

British Dictionary definitions for perpendicularly


  1. Also: normal at right angles to a horizontal plane
  2. denoting, relating to, or having the style of Gothic architecture used in England during the 14th and 15th centuries, characterized by tracery having vertical lines, a four-centred arch, and fan vaulting
  3. upright; vertical
  1. geometry a line or plane perpendicular to another
  2. any instrument used for indicating the vertical line through a given point
  3. mountaineering a nearly vertical face
Derived Formsperpendicularity (ˌpɜːpənˌdɪkjʊˈlærɪtɪ), nounperpendicularly, adverb

Word Origin for perpendicular

C14: from Latin perpendiculāris, from perpendiculum a plumb line, from per- through + pendēre to hang
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 perpendicularly



late 15c., from adverb (late 14c.), from Old French perpendiculer, from Latin perpendicularis "vertical, as a plumb line," from perpendiculum "plumb line," from perpendere "balance carefully," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + pendere "to weigh, to hang" (see pendant). As a noun from 1570s. Related: Perpendicularly; perpendicularity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

perpendicularly in Science


  1. Intersecting at or forming a right angle or right angles.
  1. A line or plane that is perpendicular to a given line or plane.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.