radius vector

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.

Origin of radius vector

First recorded in 1745–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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

Science 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.