Share this entry

rotation Line breaks: ro|ta¦tion
Pronunciation: /rə(ʊ)ˈteɪʃ(ə)n/

Definition of rotation in English:


[mass noun]
1The action of rotating about an axis or centre: the moon moves in the same direction as the earth’s rotation [count noun]: several solar rotations
More example sentences
  • With the motion and rotation of Earth, the coordinates dance all around in a strange mess that is extremely difficult to untangle.
  • The earth moves around the sun in an orbit that is nearly a circle, and the axis of rotation of the earth maintains an effectively fixed direction.
  • Its chambers and tunnel will allow visitors to perceive the earth's rotation and its changing alignments with the stars.
1.1 Mathematics The conceptual operation of turning a system about an axis.
1.2 Mathematics another term for curl (sense 3) of the noun).
2The passing of a privilege or responsibility to each member of a group in a regularly recurring order: it has become common for senior academics to act as heads of department in rotation
More example sentences
  • Gurkha battalions have been stationed there in rotation for the past twenty-five years.
  • Their substantial independence threatened republican tradition with its corporate government and brief periods of high office for individuals in rotation.
  • There are occasions where there are two Bards sharing the telling in rotation, enabling an even more embellished tale to be told.
sequence, succession;
2.1 (also crop rotation) The growing of different crops in succession on a piece of land to avoid exhausting the soil and to control weeds, pests, and diseases: traditional practices such as crop rotation
More example sentences
  • He uses cow manure, green manure and crop rotation to ensure nutrient-rich soil for his rapeseed crop.
  • It appears that factors of fall moisture, winter exposure, leaf diseases, and early summer heat are larger than crop rotation and or tillage method.
  • Disease-resistant varieties, crop rotation, and tillage are especially important in management of wheat diseases.
2.2 Forestry The cycle of growth and felling or cutting of trees: short rotation forestry [count noun]: a rotation of 60-80 years to provide valuable saw timber
More example sentences
  • If the forest has a non-timber value, for instance, in terms of its recreation value or its value as a wildlife habitat, then this changes the socially optimal forest rotation.
  • Initial growth rates can be improved for higher assurance of success and shorter rotations.
  • The region also plays host to a large number of birches to add variety, a component that forest management plans aim to maintain past the current rotation.
2.3 [count noun] US A tour of duty, especially by a medical practitioner in training: she was completing a rotation in trauma surgery
More example sentences
  • They focus on core programs in analytics, and then have a very experiential period - similar to the clinical rotations used in other professions.
  • Kate told Stephen how she got on the accelerated Medicine program at Boston University and that all of her rotations would transfer over to UIC except the ER.
  • Classroom training is then combined with hands-on experience that includes a general rotation in every department of the company.


Mid 16th century: from Latin rotatio(n-), from the verb rotare (see rotate).

  • The Latin rota ‘wheel’ and the verb from it rotare ‘to turn’ is the source of rotation and related words. These include rotund (late 15th century) for something well rounded, and rotunda (early 17th century) for a round building or room. It is an alteration of Italian rotonda (camera) ‘round (chamber)’. Round (Middle English) comes from the same source via French. The worldwide charitable society of business people formed in 1905 known as Rotary International owes its name to the fact that its members hosted events in rotation.



Pronunciation: /rə(ʊ)ˈteɪʃ(ə)n(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • The number of bumps on each wheel in combination with the rotational speed determined the pitch produced by a particular tone wheel assembly.
  • And my brother and I had put her in front of the rotational sprinkler too many times.
  • Be sure to place stations in different parts of the field (areas with different rotational histories, soil types, low or high spots, etc.) to obtain a representative sample.


Pronunciation: /rə(ʊ)ˈteɪʃ(ə)n(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • If grown with tall-growing grasses and grazed rotationally, the pastures should be grazed at relatively short intervals to prevent excessive shading by the grass.
  • With rotationally deploying ships from both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, 5th Fleet typically has more than a dozen ships and 15,000 to 20,000 Sailors and Marines.
  • The lower eye is rotationally symmetrical, but the upper eye is only bilaterally symmetrical (front view shown to the right).

Words that rhyme with rotation

ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, counterdemonstration, counterproliferation, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, geolocation, glocalization, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, staycation, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation

Definition of rotation in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person