• synonyms


[roh-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
See more synonyms for rotatory on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to or of the nature of rotation: rotatory motion.
  2. rotating, as an object.
  3. passing or following in rotation or succession.
  4. causing rotation, as a muscle.
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Origin of rotatory

1745–55; < New Latin rotātōrius, equivalent to Latin rotā(re) (see rotate1) + -tōrius -tory1
Related formsun·ro·ta·to·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

whirling, spinning, whirligig, revolving, vertiginous, gyral, gyratory, rotating, rotational, rotatory, rotary, rotative, vortical, vorticose

Examples from the Web for rotatory

Historical Examples

  • It will have a rotatory motion; and this it has been seen to have.

    Essays: Scientific, Political, &amp; Speculative, Vol. I

    Herbert Spencer

  • In this rotatory motion they aid themselves by using the legs freely.

  • That, as I understand it, is a stationary, while this is a rotatory system.

    The Monikins

    J. Fenimore Cooper

  • Was it necessary, therefore, to suppose a second, a kind of rotatory movement?

    Everyday Objects

    W. H. Davenport Adams

  • The radius and ulna are not ankylosed, but are incapable of any rotatory movement.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for rotatory


less commonly rotative (ˈrəʊtətɪv)

  1. of, relating to, possessing, or causing rotation
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Derived Formsrotatively, 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

rotatory in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, causing, or characterized by rotation.
  2. Occurring or proceeding in alternation or succession.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.