radius vector

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noun, plural radii vec·to·res [vek-tawr-eez, -tohr-], /vɛkˈtɔr iz, -ˈtoʊr-/, radius vectors.
Mathematics. the length of the line segment joining a fixed point or origin to a given point.
  1. the straight line joining two bodies in relative orbital motion, as the line from the sun to a planet at any point in its orbit.
  2. the distance between two such bodies at any point in the orbit.
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Origin of radius vector

First recorded in 1745–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

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British Dictionary definitions for radius vector

radius vector

maths a line joining a point in space to the origin of polar or spherical coordinates
astronomy an imaginary line joining a satellite to the planet or star around which it is orbiting
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 radius vector

radius vector

A line segment that joins the origin and a variable point in a system of polar or spherical coordinates.
The imaginary straight line that connects the center of the Sun or another body with the center of a planet, comet, or other body that orbits it.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.