• synonyms


[roh-tey-shuh n]
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  1. the act of rotating; a turning around as on an axis.
  2. Astronomy.
    1. the movement or path of the earth or a heavenly body turning on its axis.
    2. one complete turn of such a body.
  3. regularly recurring succession, as of officials.
  4. Agriculture. crop rotation.
  5. Mathematics.
    1. an operation that rotates a geometric figure about a fixed point.
    2. curl(def 14).
  6. Pool. a game in which the balls are played in order by number.
  7. Baseball. pitching rotation.
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Origin of rotation

1545–55; < Latin rotātiōn- (stem of rotātiō) a rotation, rolling, equivalent to rotāt(us) (see rotate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsro·ta·tion·al, adjectivenon·ro·ta·tion, nounnon·ro·ta·tion·al, adjectiveun·ro·ta·tion·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rotation


  1. the act of rotating; rotary motion
  2. a regular cycle of events in a set order or sequence
  3. a planned sequence of cropping according to which the crops grown in successive seasons on the same land are varied so as to make a balanced demand on its resources of fertility
  4. maths
    1. a circular motion of a configuration about a given point or line, without a change in shape
    2. a transformation in which the coordinate axes are rotated by a fixed angle about the origin
    3. another name for curl (def. 11) Abbreviation (for sense 4c): rot
    1. the spinning motion of a body, such as a planet, about an internal axisCompare revolution (def. 5a)
    2. one complete turn in such motion
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Derived Formsrotational, adjective
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 rotation


1550s, from Latin rotationem (nominative rotatio) "a turning about in a circle," noun of action from past participle stem of rotare "turn round, revolve, whirl about, roll," from PIE *roto- (see rotary).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rotation in Medicine


  1. The act or process of turning around a center or an axis.
  2. Regular and uniform variation in a sequence or series, as in the recurrence of symptoms of a disease.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

rotation in Science


  1. The motion of an object around an internal axis.
  2. A single complete cycle of such motion. See Note at revolution.
  3. A transformation of a coordinate system in which the new axes have a specified angular displacement from their original position while the origin remains fixed.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.