Definition of tractrix in US English:


nounPlural tractrices

  • 1A curve whose tangents all intercept the x-axis at the same distance from the point of contact, being the involute of a catenary.

    • ‘Among the properties of the tractrix are the fact that the length of a tangent from its point of contact to an asymptote is constant.’
    1. 1.1 One of a class of curves similarly traced by one end of a rigid rod, whose other end moves along a fixed line or curve.
      • ‘The concrete realisation uses the pseudosphere, a surface generated by the revolution of a tractrix about its asymptote.’
      • ‘The model was obtained on the surface of revolution of a tractrix about its asymptote.’
      • ‘The tractrix is sometimes called a tractory or equitangential curve.’


Early 18th century: modern Latin, feminine of late Latin tractor ‘that which pulls’ (see tractor).