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[truh-jek-tuh-ree] /trəˈdʒɛk tə ri/
noun, plural trajectories.
the curve described by a projectile, rocket, or the like in its flight.
Geometry. a curve or surface that cuts all the curves or surfaces of a given system at a constant angle.
1660-70; < New Latin trājectōria, noun use of feminine of Medieval Latin trājectōrius cast-ing over. See traject, -tory1
Related forms
[truh-jek-til, -tahyl] /trəˈdʒɛk tɪl, -taɪl/ (Show IPA),
[truh-jek-shuh n] /trəˈdʒɛk ʃən/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trajectories
  • Certainly in astrophysics, such helices are the trajectories of the planets about a moving sun.
  • When the sun is held stationary, these trajectories are viewed as nearly circular ellipses.
  • Literally hundreds of other names have followed similar trajectories.
  • Both sets of companies are now in messy public divorces, because the parent companies had to change their trajectories.
  • Atom interferometry measures the phase change caused by the difference in two trajectories of an atom in space.
  • When they get multiple camera views, they can be much more precise in calculating trajectories.
  • And on second thought, maybe even they didn't, because of the way such probes are typically placed on their trajectories.
  • He followed the possible trajectories, making sure that he was not missing any damage.
  • Austerity is a poor way to solve unsustainable fiscal trajectories.
  • The visceral experience of failure seems to have been edited out of the career trajectories of gifted students.
British Dictionary definitions for trajectories


/trəˈdʒɛktərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
the path described by an object moving in air or space under the influence of such forces as thrust, wind resistance, and gravity, esp the curved path of a projectile
(geometry) a curve that cuts a family of curves or surfaces at a constant angle
Derived Forms
trajectile (trəˈdʒɛktaɪl) 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
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Word Origin and History for trajectories



1690s, from Modern Latin trajectoria, from fem. of trajectorius "of or pertaining to throwing across," from Latin traiectus "thrown over or across," past participle of traicere "throw across," from Latin trans- "across" (see trans-) + icere, combining form of iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Used in Late Latin and Middle English to mean "a funnel."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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trajectories in Science
  1. Physics The line or curve described by an object moving through space.

  2. Mathematics A curve or surface that passes through a given set of points or intersects a given series of curves or surfaces at a constant angle.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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