Definition of vector in US English:



  • 1Physics Mathematics
    A quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another.

    Compare with scalar
    • ‘Angular momentum is a vector quantity, meaning it has both magnitude and direction, and can be described by three components (in three dimensions).’
    • ‘A vector quantity has magnitude and direction.’
    • ‘Several morphological differences are demonstrated by the size and direction of the vectors that indicate the position of the landmarks of the target specimen in relation to the base specimen.’
    • ‘In contrast, the electric field is a vector quantity (meaning it has both a magnitude and a direction).’
    • ‘A PC is a vector quantified by a direction and a length.’
    value, index, indicator, measure, norm, order, quantity, number, figure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A matrix with one row or one column.
      • ‘For matrix multiplication, vectors without superscript are treated as columns and vectors with the T superscript as rows.’
      • ‘One strength of the presentation is the emphasis on the dual views of a linear system as intersecting planes and as combinations of column vectors.’
      • ‘A data matrix having 21 column vectors with 86,000 grid points each can be generated from difference maps and decomposed in ~ 0.5 min.’
      • ‘This is the result of multiplying the matrix times the column vector, Wp, of original probabilities.’
      • ‘We adapt the general matrix multiplication formula to, where the vertex vectors consist only of column 0 and the second subscript refers to the row entry of the vector.’
    2. 1.2Computing as modifier Denoting a type of graphical representation using straight lines to construct the outlines of objects.
      • ‘Nurbs are as common in 3 - D rendering as is a line in vector illustration.’
      • ‘When creating Flash, Macromedia did a lot more than simply create the most robust and powerful format for Web-based vector graphics animation.’
      • ‘Then the user renders some 3D animation into vector graphics format.’
      • ‘XML controls the display of text, raster images and vector shapes such as lines, arcs and polygons.’
      • ‘The initial chapters begin with feature by feature analysis and include explanations of the conventions and constraints on dealing with vector image creation.’
  • 2An organism, typically a biting insect or tick, that transmits a disease or parasite from one animal or plant to another.

    • ‘Surface water harbours pathogens and the insect vectors of infectious diseases.’
    • ‘They played an important role as intermediate hosts or vectors of pathogens causing diseases to man and pet animals.’
    • ‘Activities in remote areas increase the chance of exposure to insect vectors and fresh-water lakes and streams that may harbor schistosomes or leptospires.’
    • ‘Infectious diseases spread through vectors and vehicles’
    • ‘Now, in the 21st century, our researchers are still studying the relationships between animal hosts, insect and arthropod vectors, and disease agents.’
    • ‘The bacteria are transmitted primarily by insect vectors, citrus psyllids, and through infected planting materials.’
    • ‘While studies have shown that HIV can survive on bedbugs' mouthparts for up to an hour, the insects are not known to be vectors for disease.’
    • ‘Species within the Proteaceae utilize a variety of animal vectors (mammals, insects and birds) to disperse pollen.’
    • ‘Insecticides kill insect defoliators and vectors of deadly human diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, plague, and typhus.’
    • ‘Movement of animals and disease vectors is perhaps one of the most common causes of disease emergence globally.’
    • ‘Instead of killing the insect vectors of diseases, the Nazis tried to kill the human hosts of the pathogens.’
    • ‘Programs to rid cities of mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus or fleas, ticks, and lice that are vectors of disease may be worthwhile, she said.’
    • ‘Migratory songbirds play an important role in their environment and can for example be important disease vectors.’
    • ‘The Lone Star and Ixodes ticks are the vectors for this disease.’
    • ‘The publication of this monograph on the mosquitoes in the seven northeastern States, and particularly of known and potential vectors of human disease, is therefore welcome.’
    • ‘Dogs are still one of the primary vectors for transmitting rabies to humans in undeveloped parts of the world.’
    • ‘There is no evidence implicating an insect vector in the transmission of HIV.’
    • ‘This tick is also a vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a rickettsial disease of man.’
    • ‘The body louse, Pediculus humanus corporis, is a vector of epidemic typhus, trench fever, and relapsing fever.’
    • ‘Foxes are known vectors for rabies and can transmit the disease to humans and other animals.’
    1. 2.1Genetics A bacteriophage or plasmid which transfers genetic material into a cell, or from one bacterium to another.
      • ‘Positive phage clones were converted to plasmid vectors using the material provided in the cDNA synthesis kit.’
      • ‘This fragment was cloned into a plasmid vector and sequenced to exclude mutations introduced during PCR.’
      • ‘Biological containment involves crippling the plasmid vector and its bacterial host so that they will not be able to survive outside the laboratory.’
      • ‘Cells transformed with a plasmid vector only were used as negative controls.’
      • ‘The inserts were ligated into the plasmid vector and primary transformants were generated as per the supplied protocol.’
  • 3A course to be taken by an aircraft.

    • ‘The approach controller immediately issued vectors to the nearby Moncks Corner Airport, but radio and radar contact were lost.’
    • ‘If you're nose-low, zeroing the rate of turn will point the lift vector up and the increasing airspeed will pitch the aircraft up toward the horizon.’
    • ‘As we headed to the vector, our aircraft, without warning, began to vibrate violently.’
    • ‘You can't stay low, slow and accept vectors in icing conditions.’
    • ‘They were confusing call signs and giving vectors to the wrong aircraft.’


  • with object and adverbial of direction Direct (an aircraft in flight) to a desired point.

    • ‘The controller could have asked the hangs to leave the area, or could have vectored the airliner differently, or simply have cautioned the airline pilot about the hangs including where and how many there were.’
    • ‘The flight crew had been vectored by controllers to intercept the Runway 27 extended centerline approximately nine miles out, and they were cleared for the VOR Runway 27 approach.’
    • ‘Once in the firing area, deployed aircraft from Kalaikunda are vectored on to the tug and fire at the target from the front quarter only.’
    • ‘With rain still pounding on the fuselage, the tower vectored us for a left base to runway 03R. As we turned onto final, the approach lights confirmed we were right on the glide slope.’
    • ‘The other aircraft had been vectored in from another controlling unit to assist with the ASW prosecution but had failed to check in or let any other aircraft operating in the area know they were inbound.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin, literally ‘carrier’, from vehere ‘convey’.