1550s, "of or at the vertex, directly overhead," from French vertical (1540s), from Late Latin verticalis "overhead," from Latin vertex (genitive verticis) "highest point" (see vertex). Meaning "straight up and down" is first recorded 1704. As a noun meaning "the vertical position or line" from 1834. Related: Vertically.
"perpendicular, vertical, true according to a plumb-line," mid-15c., plom, from plumb (n.). As an adverb, "in a vertical direction, straight down," c. 1400. The notion of "exact measurement" led to the extended adverbial sense of "completely, downright" (1748), sometimes spelled plump, plum, or plunk.
"fence formed by connecting pointed vertical stakes by horizontal rails above and below," 1550s, from pale (n.).
late 15c., perpendiculer, of a line, "lying at right angles to the horizon" (in astronomy, navigation, etc.), from an earlier adverb (late 14c.), "at right angles to the horizon," from Old French perpendiculer, from Late Latin perpendicularis "vertical, as a plumb line," from Latin perpendiculum "plumb line," from perpendere "balance carefully," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").
The meaning "perfectly vertical" is by 1590s. As a noun, "a line that meets another line or plane at right angles," from 1570s. The earlier noun was perpendicle (c. 1400). Related: Perpendicularly; perpendicularity.
"piece of stone, wood, etc., projecting from the vertical face of a wall to support some object," mid-14c., from Old French corbel, diminutive of corb "raven," from Latin corvus (see corvine); so called from its beaked shape. Corbel-step is attested from 1819.