Definition of orbital in English:

Share this entry

orbital

Pronunciation: /ˈɔːbɪt(ə)l/

adjective

1Relating to an orbit or orbits.
Example sentences
  • With its emphasis on accurate space flight simulation and orbital mechanics, Orbiter is not all things to all space and astronomy enthusiasts.
  • This nearly polar orbit is designed such that the spacecraft's orbital path moves at the same apparent rate as the Sun.
  • This creates increased atmospheric drag on spacecraft in low orbits, shortening their orbital lifetime.
1.1British (Of a road) passing round the outside of a town.
Example sentences
  • Apple has confirmed its third UK retail location: the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, just outside London's M25 orbital freeway.
  • On February 1st they kick-started the tendering process for the extension of the M77 to Fenwick and the creation of the new Glasgow southern orbital road.
  • The concept of an orbital road around the capital had been discussed since the Royal Commission on London Traffic in 1905.

noun

1British An orbital road.
Example sentences
  • The M25, the London orbital where traffic moves so slowly that it has basically become the world's largest carpark, was even busier than usual this weekend.
2 Physics Each of the actual or potential patterns of electron density which may be formed in an atom or molecule by one or more electrons, and can be represented as a wave function.
Example sentences
  • In addition, it can also lead to daunting calculations as each atom contributes its orbitals to the whole molecule.
  • The effect is due to the distortion of the electron orbitals because of the magnetic field.
  • It is also possible for two orbitals on each atom to overlap, forming two molecular orbitals between the two atoms.

Derivatives

orbitally

adverb
Example sentences
  • Scott Lehman points out: ‘Their technique is still heavily reliant on the accuracy of the orbitally derived mile posts.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (referring to the eye socket): probably from medieval Latin orbitalis, from Latin orbita (see orbit).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: or|bit¦al

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.