[ pur-puhn-dik-yuh-ler ]
See synonyms for: perpendicularperpendicularity on

  1. vertical; straight up and down; upright.

  2. Geometry. meeting a given line or surface at right angles.

  1. maintaining a standing or upright position; standing up.

  2. having a sharp pitch or slope; steep.

  3. (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.

  1. an upright position.

  2. a sharply pitched or precipitously steep mountain face.

  3. moral virtue or uprightness; rectitude.

  4. Nautical. either of two lines perpendicular to the keel line, base line, or designed water line of a vessel.

Origin of perpendicular

First recorded in 1350–1400; from Latin perpendiculāris “vertical,” equivalent to perpendicul(um) “plumb line” (see perpend2, -i-, -cule2) + -āris-ar1; replacing Middle English perpendiculer(e) (adjective and adverb), from Old French perpendiculiere

synonym study For perpendicular

1. See upright.

Other words for perpendicular

Other words from perpendicular

  • per·pen·dic·u·lar·i·ty, per·pen·dic·u·lar·ness, noun
  • per·pen·dic·u·lar·ly, adverb
  • non·per·pen·dic·u·lar, adjective, noun
  • non·per·pen·dic·u·lar·ly, adverb
  • non·per·pen·dic·u·lar·i·ty, noun
  • un·per·pen·dic·u·lar, adjective
  • un·per·pen·dic·u·lar·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use perpendicular in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for perpendicular


/ (ˌpɜːpənˈdɪkjʊlə) /

  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

  1. upright; vertical

  1. geometry a line or plane perpendicular to another

  2. any instrument used for indicating the vertical line through a given point

  1. mountaineering a nearly vertical face

Origin of perpendicular

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

Derived forms of perpendicular

  • perpendicularity (ˌpɜːpənˌdɪkjʊˈlærɪtɪ), noun
  • perpendicularly, 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

Scientific definitions for perpendicular


[ pûr′pən-dĭkyə-lər ]

  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.