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[wahy-ak-sis] /ˈwaɪˌæk sɪs/
noun, plural y-axes
[wahy-ak-seez] /ˈwaɪˌæk siz/ (Show IPA).
Also called axis of ordinates. (in a plane Cartesian coordinate system) the axis, usually vertical, along which the ordinate is measured and from which the abscissa is measured.
(in a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system) the axis along which values of y are measured and at which both x and z equal zero.
Origin of y-axis
Can be confused
x-axis, y-axis. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for y-axis
  • The first division is within the x-axis, the second within the y-axis then the third in the z-axis before repeating itself.
  • Doing so would move many of the schemes with a positive value on the y-axis into negative territory.
  • What you see on the x-axis are ages of individuals, and on the y-axis the expected years of life at that age.
  • The x-axis is the first principal component of variation, and the y-axis the second.
  • On the y-axis you see the responses to amputation and apostasy.
  • To the left of the canvas is the concealable y-axis label panel.
  • The y-axis is used for the dependent variable, which changes over time or date or distance.
British Dictionary definitions for y-axis


a reference axis, usually vertical, of a graph or two- or three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system along which the y-coordinate is measured
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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y-axis in Science
  1. The vertical axis of a two-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system.

  2. One of the three axes of a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system.

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