Etymology
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perpendicular (adj.)

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.

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Definitions of perpendicular
1
perpendicular (n.)
a straight line at right angles to another line;
perpendicular (n.)
a Gothic style in 14th and 15th century England; characterized by vertical lines and a four-centered (Tudor) arch and fan vaulting;
Synonyms: perpendicular style / English-Gothic / English-Gothic architecture
perpendicular (n.)
a cord from which a metal weight is suspended pointing directly to the earth's center of gravity; used to determine the vertical from a given point;
Synonyms: plumb line
perpendicular (n.)
an extremely steep face;
2
perpendicular (adj.)
intersecting at or forming right angles;
the axes are perpendicular to each other
perpendicular (adj.)
so steep as to be nearly veritcal;
the great perpendicular face of the cliff
perpendicular (adj.)
at right angles to the plane of the horizon or a base line;
measure the perpendicular height
Synonyms: vertical
From wordnet.princeton.edu