Definition of trajectory in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈtradʒɪkt(ə)ri//trəˈdʒɛkt(ə)ri/


  • 1The path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces.

    ‘the missile's trajectory was preset’
    figurative ‘the rapid upward trajectory of Rich's career’
    • ‘A talk on an Air Force rocket-fuel project set their own research trajectories in a new direction.’
    • ‘Mortars are ballistic weapons that have projectile trajectories undistorted by rocket engine or guidance system.’
    • ‘The trajectory is the path traced by the center of gravity of the projectile from the origin to the level point.’
    • ‘A guided missile corrects its trajectory as it flies, homing in, say, on the heat of a jet plane's exhaust.’
    • ‘Suborbital paths are the trajectories of choice for ballistic missiles.’
    • ‘A ray path is the trajectory that a small packet of seismic energy follows as it travels through the Earth.’
    • ‘A few years ago, my playing partner hit a drive which had the trajectory of an Exocet missile.’
    • ‘Turning toward the central piece I choose a path defined by the trajectory of a rail leading to the center.’
    • ‘By 1604 he concluded that projectiles travel along parabolic trajectories.’
    • ‘I can also move things through the dome by drawing paths through trajectories - it's limitless what you can do.’
    • ‘The reaction paths are five-dimensional trajectories that cannot be summarized in a single picture.’
    • ‘After all, we still use Newton's law of gravitation to explain and predict the trajectories of projectiles, even though it is no longer believed to be strictly true.’
    • ‘At this time ideas of the trajectory taken by a projectile were still dominated by Aristotle's thinking.’
    • ‘Among lawful sequences of events are Galileo's laws of free fall and the parabolic trajectory of projectiles.’
    • ‘In this study, these themes describe common decision trajectories.’
    • ‘The dust trails spread out over time as each particle continues to orbit the Sun on a trajectory similar to the path of the parent comet.’
    • ‘The ball soared in the azure sky like a missile with a perfect trajectory and rolled a lot upon landing.’
    • ‘Then the viewer sees some object describe a trajectory down from the ridge where the camera is.’
    • ‘Since then it has been on an upward trajectory and now stands at over 20 per cent.’
    • ‘As supply meets demand, a future is created, independent of any plan, but revealed in the trajectories of market forces.’
    course, route, path, track, line, orbit, flight, flight path, ambit, direction, bearing, orientation, way, tack, approach
    View synonyms
  • 2Geometry
    A curve or surface cutting a family of curves or surfaces at a constant angle.

    • ‘Thus, large interception errors were only found for ball trajectories ending relatively far from one's midline.’
    • ‘These three trajectories are known as conic sections, as they are also the curves produced by cutting a cone along different planes.’
    • ‘To investigate this possibility, a simple system can be designed to generate drip trajectories where the degree of chaos can be tuned.’
    • ‘So now, you have an intersecting curvature, at every point, say, along a trajectory.’
    • ‘The thick line is a calculated trajectory near a surface and the thin line is a trajectory far from any surface.’


Late 17th century: from modern Latin trajectoria (feminine), from Latin traject- thrown across, from the verb traicere, from trans- across + jacere to throw.