Definition of cubic in English:



  • 1Having the shape of a cube.

    ‘a cubic room’
    • ‘The main villain is Doctor Cube, who wears a white cubic helmet with a frowning visage that resembles an embittered smiley face.’
    • ‘Even though there was a complete absence of light, somehow Terry knew that he was in a cubic room, and there was no way to get out.’
    • ‘The main corridor then leads past two shops featuring clothing, perfumes, jewelry and souvenirs, and a double row of cubic insets displaying colorful Greek rocks and gems.’
    • ‘There's nothing new about his style, for it reminds me of Andri Masson's painting, especially the way he strokes the brush and plays with cubic shapes.’
    • ‘The cool rationality of the grid spells order and control - no mysterious darkness or dirty corners - and the geometry of the cubic masses registers timeless perfection.’
    • ‘That was too familiar and so were the cubic structures that rose out of the ground.’
    • ‘Like the others, the cubic room had two small beds, two desks, a row of different robes hanging from hooks, and a band of light-refracting crystal lining the wall.’
    • ‘This ratio, one of his own devising, has remained virtually constant in all of his cubic openwork structures.’
    • ‘The upper portion of the portal is formed by a composition of squares and cubic inscriptions in carved relief.’
    • ‘La Defense is a strikingly modern part of Paris, dominated by the gleaming cubic shape of the Arche de la Defense.’
    • ‘The five-story addition echoes the existing cubic structure and is connected to it by a two-story link that will house several galleries and public spaces.’
    • ‘They usually were of cubic shape, and were sealed with an airtight lock that ran three-quarters of the way around the middle of the box, leaving one side to hinge on.’
    • ‘Located in a sprawling storefront loft on Sherbrooke just west of St-Denis, the glass-fronted cubic space with ultra-high ceilings has a museum-of-the-future feel to it.’
    • ‘Almost square in plan, the mosque has a flat roof, making it cubic in shape.’
    • ‘The work is described as a large cubic structure that can be triggered by a control unit to affect the earth's speed of rotation.’
    • ‘The food had been made into small rectangular, spherical or cubic portions, in contrast to those consumed by American or Russian astronauts, who sucked food from tube-type containers.’
    • ‘It turns out that these metal-organic building blocks crystallize in the form of a three-dimensional grid with very large cubic cavities.’
    • ‘When the offending device had finally been removed, she didn't notice even then; her mind had been made as pure as the cubic room she was contained in.’
    • ‘Into this cubic void, subsidiary planes of glass are placed so that the immediate lobby reads as a transparent box inside a larger, virtual box.’
    • ‘There are also a few huge boulders which were chiselled into cubic shapes centuries ago and now serve as surreal houses and stables.’
    quadrilateral, rectangular, oblong, right-angled, at right angles, perpendicular
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    1. 1.1 Denoting a crystal system or three-dimensional geometrical arrangement having three equal axes at right angles.
      ‘the sodium and chloride ions form two intersecting cubic structures’
      • ‘She noted that many dark purple to nearly black cubic crystals exhibit a stairstep growth pattern.’
      • ‘The Lena River in Yakutsk, Russia, is another classic source of cubic crystals.’
      • ‘Most of these specimens exhibit crystals that are cubic in habit; however, octahedra of both blue-gray and medium green have also been common.’
      • ‘Sphalerite is cubic with crystals commonly tetrahedral or dodecahedral and frequently complex and distorted.’
      • ‘Some of the gold formed discrete isolated crystals to 2 mm perched on tiny cubic pyrite crystals in vugs that range to 1 cm across.’
      • ‘Exceptionally sharp groups of skeletal cubic silver crystals have been collected from surface exposures near the Copper Falls mine.’
      • ‘Between 417°C and its melting point of 1493°C, cobalt has a face-centered cubic structure.’
      • ‘Table salt, for example, has a characteristically cubic crystalline shape that can be observed with the naked eye.’
      • ‘Some of these larger crystals are elongate, giving them a tetragonal rather than cubic appearance.’
      • ‘Based on x-ray diffraction data, the authors concluded that the observed aggregates represented dispersed particles of cubic structure.’
      • ‘During the last four years we made several unsuccessful attempts to locate additional groups of cubic copper crystals.’
      • ‘When sufficient alloying element is added, it is possible to preserve the face-centered cubic austenite at room temperature, either in a stable or metastable condition.’
      • ‘Diamonds, pyrite and garnet are examples of cubic crystals.’
      • ‘Diamond is also a light material whose atoms are covalently bonded and arrayed in a cubic structure, whereas osmium is heavy, metallic, and has hexagonally organized atoms.’
      • ‘Another relatively new discovery is pyrite as attractive, sharp, cubic crystals, to 1 cm on edge, altered to goethite.’
      • ‘At this temperature the lattice constant of the cubic structure progressively decreases with increasing temperature.’
      • ‘Single brilliant, striated, cubic crystals to 2.5 cm on edge were found in soft greasy masses of pyrophyllite that was easily removed from the specimens.’
      • ‘Suppose a walker stands at a vertex of a three-dimensional cubic grid.’
      • ‘Groups of well-formed octahedrally modified cubic crystals were found, with individuals to 3.5 cm across.’
      • ‘Although it exhibits cubic crystal symmetry, its optical behavior is not identical in all orientations.’
  • 2Denoting a unit of measurement equal to the volume of a cube whose side is one of the linear units specified.

    ‘15 billion cubic metres of water’
    • ‘Let us consider the density of the egg to be 1.3 grams per cubic centimeter.’
    • ‘This waterfall is over 1,700 meters wide and drops an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water over the edge every minute.’
    • ‘For eight months up to eight Russian and international volunteers at a time called their combined 300 cubic metre volume home.’
    • ‘The per capita availability of water was 6,008 cubic metres in 1947.’
    • ‘A 737 freighter can carry about 16 tonnes, and has about 120 cubic metres of volume.’
    • ‘Lacking some 2.6 billion cubic metres of water a year, Shaanxi Province is suffering from insufficient rainfall and a low water utilization ratio.’
    • ‘Bailing of the waste plastic will take place on site and each bail will measure about one cubic metre.’
    • ‘Two thousand Vietnamese rivers carry nearly a trillion cubic meters of water to the sea every year, fed by rains that in some parts of the country total an astonishing 10 feet a year.’
    • ‘One cubic metre of spruce weighs about 450 kilograms.’
    • ‘The treatment plant currently processes 1.2 million cubic metres of water a day, representing 40 per cent of the total water used in Hong Kong each day.’
    • ‘As the earth's crust was forced upwards, it displaced hundreds of cubic metres of water along an area as large as 1000 km long and 100 km wide.’
    • ‘The price of the gas in Shanghai will be 1.32 yuan per cubic metre.’
    • ‘At 4:35 pm, the flow volume reached 750 cubic metres per second.’
    • ‘Webster's would say that volume is the amount of space occupied by a three-dimensional figure as measured in cubic units.’
    • ‘The pool takes up a volume of 66 cubic metres and weighs over 80 metric tons.’
    • ‘Basra's water authority is constructing 12 small purification units that will eventually produce 25 cubic meters of clean water every hour.’
    • ‘They sprayed the flow with 6 million cubic meters of water, hoping to cool the lava enough - by about 50 degrees Celsius - so that it would solidify.’
    • ‘It is estimated that a million cubic meters of water is capable of creating 200 jobs in direct and indirect agriculturally generated occupations.’
    • ‘Other units, such as cubic meters or imperial gallons, can be converted to the U.S. barrel fairly easily.’
    • ‘The Adamstown Treatment Plant, at Kilmeaden will be duplicated, thus increasing its output capacity from 32,500 to 53,000 cubic metres of water per day.’
  • 3Involving the cube (and no higher power) of a quantity or variable.

    ‘a cubic equation’
    • ‘What are the general solutions to cubic and quartic polynomial equations?’
    • ‘Lagrange's main object was to find out why cubic and quartic equations could be solved algebraically.’
    • ‘The first person known to have solved cubic equations algebraically was del Ferro but he told nobody of his achievement.’
    • ‘He solved cubic equations by extending an algorithm for finding cube roots.’
    • ‘Khayyam also wrote that he hoped to give a full description of the algebraic solution of cubic equations in a later work.’
    • ‘Historically, imaginary numbers first came to light when trying to solve cubic equations, rather than quadratics.’
    • ‘We are told that there are similar formulae for roots of cubic and quartic polynomial equations, but these are more complicated, and so, in school we are not taught these formulas.’
    • ‘Like Mazur, Pesic starts at the beginning with the irrationality of square roots and proceeds to the solution of cubic and quartic equations.’


  • A cubic equation, or a curve described by one.

    • ‘He wrote articles on such diverse topics as twisted cubics, developable surfaces, the theory of conics, the theory of plane curves, third- and fourth-degree surfaces, statics and projective geometry.’
    • ‘In this classification of cubics, Newton gives four classes of equation.’
    • ‘The yield and tensile strengths of metals that crystallize in the body-centered cubic from iron, molybdenum, vanadium and chromium depend greatly on temperature.’
    • ‘Cardan noticed something strange when he applied his formula to certain cubics.’
    • ‘After subsequent work failed to solve equations of higher degree, Lagrange undertook an analysis in 1770 to explain why the methods for cubics and quartics are successful.’


Late 15th century (in the sense ‘involving the cube (and no higher power)’): from Old French cubique, or via Latin from Greek kubikos, from kobos ‘cube’.