molecular orbital

noun Physics, Chemistry.
See under orbital ( def 2a ).

1930–35 Unabridged


of or pertaining to an orbit.
Physics, Chemistry.
a wave function describing the state of a single electron in an atom (atomic orbital) or in a molecule (molecular orbital)
the electron in that state.

1535–45; < Neo-Latin, Medieval Latin orbitālis; see orbit, -al1

interorbital, adjective
interorbitally, adverb
preorbital, adjective
superorbital, adjective
transorbital, adjective
unorbital, adjective
unorbitally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
orbital (ˈɔːbɪtəl)
1.  of or denoting an orbit
2.  (of a motorway or major road circuit) circling a large city
3.  a region surrounding an atomic nucleus in which the probability distribution of the electrons is given by a wave function
4.  an orbital road

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1540s, with reference to eye sockets; 1839 with reference to heavenly bodies; from orbit.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

orbital or·bit·al (ôr'bĭ-tl)
Relating to an orbit.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
orbital  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (ôr'bĭ-tl)  Pronunciation Key 

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A partial description of the quantum state of an electron (or other particle) orbiting the nucleus of an atom. Different orbitals have different shapes and orientations, depending on the energy of the electron, its angular momentum, and its magnetic number. Orbitals have no clear boundaries; the shape of an orbital, as depicted graphically, shows only the regions around the nucleus in which an electron has a relatively high probability of being found. No more than two electrons (each with opposite spin) can coexist in a single orbital because of the Pauli exclusion principle. See also probability wave, quantum number, shell..

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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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