[ roh-tey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for: rotationrotational on

  1. the act of rotating; a turning around as on an axis.

  2. Astronomy.

    • the movement or path of the earth or a heavenly body turning on its axis.

    • one complete turn of such a body.

  1. regularly recurring succession, as of officials.

  2. Agriculture. crop rotation.

  3. Mathematics.

  4. Pool. a game in which the balls are played in order by number.

  5. Baseball. pitching rotation.

Origin of rotation

1545–55; <Latin rotātiōn- (stem of rotātiō) a rotation, rolling, equivalent to rotāt(us) (see rotate1) + -iōn--ion

Other words from rotation

  • ro·ta·tion·al, adjective
  • non·ro·ta·tion, noun
  • non·ro·ta·tion·al, adjective
  • un·ro·ta·tion·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rotation in a sentence

  • The ortho molecules rotate with odd rotational quantum numbers, while the para molecules rotate with even quantum numbers.

    Unwise Child | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The total, however, of the rotational moment of momentum of the system barely reaches two per cent.

    Time and Tide | Robert S. (Robert Stawell) Ball
  • How can one who is ignorant of the existence and characteristics of rotational inertia understand a galvanometer?

    College Teaching | Paul Klapper
  • By this time the student should have found himself sufficiently prepared to take up problems of rotational motion.

    College Teaching | Paul Klapper
  • Searching problems and discussion are instigated at once, and the notion of rotational equilibrium and force moments brought in.

    College Teaching | Paul Klapper

British Dictionary definitions for rotation


/ (rəʊˈteɪʃən) /

  1. the act of rotating; rotary motion

  2. a regular cycle of events in a set order or sequence

  1. 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

  2. maths

    • a circular motion of a configuration about a given point or line, without a change in shape

    • a transformation in which the coordinate axes are rotated by a fixed angle about the origin

    • another name for curl (def. 11) Abbreviation (for sense 4c): rot

    • the spinning motion of a body, such as a planet, about an internal axis: Compare revolution (def. 5a)

    • one complete turn in such motion

Derived forms of rotation

  • rotational, 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

Scientific definitions for rotation


[ rō-tāshən ]

  1. The motion of an object around an internal axis.

  2. A single complete cycle of such motion. See Note at revolution.

  1. 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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.