• Of or involving right angles; at right angles.
  • (Of an experiment) Having variates which can be treated as statistically independent.

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Example Sentences

“There’s no way I can get an orthogonal corner on this cut without measuring carefully.” 

“The wallpaper had a faint orthogonal grid pattern behind the flowers.” 

“In your second experiment, can you explain the orthogonal variables?”

Word Origin

Greek, late 16th century

Why this word?

Translated literally from the Greek “orthogōnios,” which means “right-angled,” the adjective “orthogonal” relates to anything having to do with right angles. In the most basic sense, that means objects that have right angles or that intersect at right angles, but it’s also used in mathematics for slopes and curves with tangents that have orthogonal intersections. In statistics, “orthogonal” is used to refer to variables that are independent of each other.

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