spline

[splahyn]
noun
1.
a long, narrow, thin strip of wood, metal, etc.; slat.
2.
a long, flexible strip of wood or the like, used in drawing curves.
3.
Machinery.
a.
any of a series of uniformly spaced ridges on a shaft, parallel to its axis and fitting inside corresponding grooves in the hub of a gear, etc., to transmit torque.
4.
Building Trades. a thin strip of material inserted into the edges of two boards, acoustic tiles, etc., to make a butt joint between them; a feather.
5.
Mathematics, Engineering. a function that has specified values at a finite number of points and consists of segments of polynomial functions joined smoothly at these points, enabling it to be used for approximation and interpolation of functions.
verb (used with object), splined, splining. Machinery.
6.
to provide with a spline or key.
7.
to provide with a keyway.

Origin:
1750–60; orig. East Anglian dial.; perhaps akin to splint; compare Old English splin spindle

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
spline (splaɪn)
 
n
1.  any one of a series of narrow keys (external splines) formed longitudinally around the circumference of a shaft that fit into corresponding grooves (internal splines) in a mating part: used to prevent movement between two parts, esp in transmitting torque
2.  a long narrow strip of wood, metal, etc; slat
3.  a thin narrow strip made of wood, metal, or plastic fitted into a groove in the edge of a board, tile, etc, to connect it to another
 
vb
4.  (tr) to provide (a shaft, part, etc) with splines
 
[C18: East Anglian dialect; perhaps related to Old English splin spindle; see splint]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
One model is a smoothing spline fit designed to give an optimal separation of signal from noise.
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