follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

catenary

[kat-n-er-ee; especially British kuh-tee-nuh-ree] /ˈkæt nˌɛr i; especially British kəˈti nə ri/
noun, plural catenaries.
1.
Mathematics. the curve assumed approximately by a heavy uniform cord or chain hanging freely from two points not in the same vertical line. Equation: y = k cos h (x / k).
2.
(in electric railroads) the cable, running above the track, from which the trolley wire is suspended.
adjective
3.
of, relating to, or resembling a catenary.
4.
of or relating to a chain or linked series.
Origin
1780-1790
1780-90; < Latin catēnārius relating to a chain, equivalent to catēn(a) a chain + -ārius -ary
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for catenary
  • Much of the book is about their practical problems-thrust lines, the catenary curve and groin vaulting.
  • New construction consists of installation of a new catenary lightning protection system and counterpoise system.
  • The catenary suspension strand is usually attached to the cable suspension strand by means of cable suspension hooks.
  • Poles touch the catenary wires and provide electricity directly to the bus's electric propulsion system.
British Dictionary definitions for catenary

catenary

/kəˈtiːnərɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
1.
the curve assumed by a heavy uniform flexible cord hanging freely from two points. When symmetrical about the y-axis and intersecting it at y = a, the equation is y = a cosh x/a
2.
the hanging cable between pylons along a railway track, from which the trolley wire is suspended
adjective
3.
of, resembling, relating to, or constructed using a catenary or suspended chain
Word Origin
C18: from Latin catēnārius relating to a chain
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for catenary
adj.

1872, from Latin catenarius "relating to a chain," from catenanus "chained, fettered," from catena "chain, fetter, shackle" (see chain (n.)). As a noun from 1788 in mathematics. Related: Catenarian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for catenary

in mathematics, a curve that describes the shape of a flexible hanging chain or cable-the name derives from the Latin catenaria ("chain"). Any freely hanging cable or string assumes this shape, also called a chainette, if the body is of uniform mass per unit of length and is acted upon solely by gravity.

Learn more about catenary with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for catenary

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for catenary

13
14
Scrabble Words With Friends