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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.
Origin of trajectory
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 trajectory
  • There is no pre-determined evolutionary pathway or trajectory.
  • The software would use epidemiological modeling to chart the discussions and their trajectory.
  • Each of these television films telegraphs its trajectory within minutes.
  • Positive feedback defeats calculus when unlimited magnification does not smooth a trajectory, hence numerical solutions.
  • With proper diet and exercise, the trajectory toward diabetes can be slowed or even reversed.
  • My dog is extremely accurate at making predictions about the trajectory of moving objects.
  • The genome project, incidentally, followed exactly this trajectory.
  • The films, however, have followed an alternative trajectory.
  • One sailed a perfect trajectory into my father's outstretched hand.
  • These trends could change the trajectory of the general election.
British Dictionary definitions for trajectory


/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 trajectory

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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trajectory 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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