Definition of vertical in English:



  • 1At right angles to a horizontal plane; in a direction, or having an alignment, such that the top is directly above the bottom.

    ‘the vertical axis’
    ‘keep your back vertical’
    • ‘The climb ahead was nearly vertical in ascent with few to none hand holds.’
    • ‘Their eyes fluttered across the breadth of vertical and horizontal planes, missing no detail of change.’
    • ‘The navigator switches on the radar system and the antenna extends, turning through 90° from the horizontal to the vertical plane.’
    • ‘These are vertical planes of horizontally stacked planks of wood backed by a pole or beam planted in the ground.’
    • ‘One mirror has a thick vertical fluorescent orange stripe of paint running up its center, the other a horizontal.’
    • ‘Next she removed a scalpel from her first aid kit and made a small vertical incision into the trachea.’
    • ‘First, penetration of the environment is essentially in the vertical plane rather than horizontal.’
    • ‘We all shouted ' hold tight ' and then we were almost vertical going up this massive wave.’
    • ‘Layered gabbros at the deeper levels have been rotated so that their layering is nearly vertical.’
    • ‘Genes are represented by branches along the left vertical axis.’
    • ‘These corners appear in the horizontal and vertical planes.’
    • ‘The cloth denotes both vertical and horizontal planes as pure modulation, without any opposition between them.’
    • ‘The ship was capable of doing a completely vertical takeoff, when she was on her feet.’
    • ‘The earthquake resulted from horizontal displacement of the ground across a nearly vertical fault plane.’
    • ‘The true parameter values used in the simulations are shown as shaded vertical bars.’
    • ‘The added patterns were folded, and profiles in horizontal and vertical direction were obtained for further analysis.’
    • ‘But gravity actually functions as a source of support for structures that are properly aligned around a predominantly vertical axis.’
    • ‘The green line is charted against the left vertical axis.’
    • ‘Lines every 15 feet divide the field into squares, both in horizontal and vertical direction.’
    • ‘The inclinometers are 2-way sensors which record rotations with the vertical direction in two orthogonal vertical planes.’
    upright, erect, perpendicular, plumb, on end, standing, upstanding, bolt upright, upended
    sheer, steep, sharp, precipitous, bluff, vertiginous
    acclivitous, declivitous, scarped
    View synonyms
  • 2Involving different levels or stages of a hierarchy or process.

    • ‘This type of marginality can be illustrated easily in antiquity in relation to hierarchy, or vertical social ranking.’
    • ‘You aren't sure of what you've read, once you get to the end of the horizontal line in the process of creating a vertical meaning.’
    • ‘The initial approach was to have different block exemptions for different types of vertical agreement.’
    • ‘Managerial employees, anxious about job security and access to vertical mobility, may pressure themselves into working longer hours.’
    • ‘Thus, the objective of this article is to empirically test the market power motive of vertical integration-a different objective from that of Bhuyan.’
    • ‘‘A lot of the design process in such a vertical house involves figuring out how to get people around,’ says Ranon.’
    • ‘It emphasized lateral links between members of the same class rather than vertical cross-class national solidarities.’
    • ‘Note that each graph has a different vertical scale.’
    • ‘Its initiative resulted in the early twentieth century in a process of vertical segmentation or pluralism known as pillarization.’
    • ‘The human being possesses levels of reality situated in the vertical hierarchy of body, soul and spirit.’
    • ‘This vertical contact between grade levels was further enhanced through assignments to committees that established curricular goals.’
    • ‘With all firings, Chrysler ended up stripping out several levels of management, with a much flatter vertical hierarchy.’
    • ‘We don't usually divide it into vertical levels, and no particular distinction is made in terms of correspondences depending on depth.’
    • ‘Scinduism must do away with the vertical hierarchy of castes and the complete plethora of superstitious beliefs.’
    1. 2.1Involving all the stages from the production to the sale of a class of goods.
      ‘we need more vertical cooperation between manufacturers and service providers’
      • ‘To be vertical is not easy, but it is the only way to offer customers quality and consistency.’
      • ‘There are two types of vertical market-places, which bring buyers and sellers together to facilitate transactions.’
      • ‘The great sugar entrepreneur also saw the profit to be made in vertical integration.’
      • ‘‘Lawson continues to have good products and a good vertical strategy,’ says Sholler.’
      • ‘Leach's worry is that vertical integration will stifle competition.’
      • ‘One is large companies coming together in their industries to create vertical marketplaces to streamline procurement.’
      • ‘Still, the opportunities of vertical retailing are strong lures.’
      • ‘We're vertical, supplying the tools to other Web sites.’
      • ‘That's why Resolve is designed to encourage vertical work.’
      • ‘Under vertical FDI, the corporation keeps control of the various stages of a production process.’
      • ‘In the vertical production structure, work is contracted out to households, which use child labour freely.’
      • ‘As a consequence, we see today, the disintegration of vertical industries and the rapid growth of global specialists.’
      • ‘‘We are a completely vertical toy company, like none other,’ Booker says.’
      • ‘The vertical dimension of a cluster consists of firms with complementary products and competencies that are linked through supplier and customer relations.’
      • ‘First, I analyze prior research on the impact of vertical cooperation on firm performance and present the theoretical framework.’
    2. 2.2(especially of the transmission of disease or genetic traits) passed from one generation to the next.
      ‘vertical transmission of HIV infection’
      • ‘A total of 266 knew that vertical transmission can be reduced.’
      • ‘Phylogenetic analyses of these elements in the genus Drosophila indicate a strictly vertical transmission of R1 and R2.’
      • ‘Short vertical lines indicate deletion endpoints defined by cloned sequences.’
      • ‘Well informed general practitioners can and should play a part in preventing vertical transmission of HIV.’
      • ‘Vaccination in utero may reduce the vertical transmission of infectious diseases.’
  • 3Anatomy
    Relating to the crown of the head.

    • ‘The aberrant vessel can be traced to the middle ear with an apparent absence of the right vertical carotid canal.’
    • ‘The paramedian forehead flap was centered over the supratrochlear artery in a vertical orientation.’
  • 4archaic Denoting a point at the zenith or the highest point of something.


  • 1A vertical line or plane.

    ‘the columns incline several degrees away from the vertical’
    • ‘When it comes to the comments feature, remember that I control the horizontal and the vertical.’
    • ‘From the horizontal line that crossed the vertical, the line curved around and met the bottom end of the vertical.’
    • ‘Friction with the table top forces the egg to rise up in a series of little jerks, and this shifts the axis of symmetry somewhat towards the vertical.’
    • ‘Gravi-responding hypocotyls or coleoptiles can likewise show enormous variations in trajectory back to the vertical.’
    • ‘In one motion they flip from the horizontal to the vertical.’
    • ‘The concrete curves seem to organize the circulation routes, the horizontal as well as the vertical.’
    • ‘The horizontal plane addressed, we now turn to the vertical.’
    • ‘The defendant's lintel had a rear support which was inclined 6° or 8° from the vertical.’
    • ‘At noon on midsummer's day he measured the length of the shadow, and calculated that the sun was 7° south of the vertical.’
    • ‘The best direction for the thrust line is thus not the same as the gravitational vertical.’
    • ‘Its harbour elevation tilts out at approximately 8 degrees from the vertical; the elevation to the Adriatic at twice that incline.’
    • ‘Simeon shoots with a recurve bow in which the ends curve up to the vertical whereas a long bow is D-shaped.’
    • ‘The engine began to hum and the metal supports moved the shuttle ninety degrees to the vertical.’
    • ‘We will control the horizontal; we will control the vertical.’
    • ‘Like the stern, the bow itself is upside-down, its line rising just off the vertical from the seabed with keel uppermost.’
    • ‘The original photo the designer found and cropped on the vertical at the far right just didn't have the resolution for the job.’
    • ‘The walls angle away from the vertical by 10 degrees and wrap around to create a rising spiral shape that can be read from both inside and outside.’
    • ‘When doing this turn, the swimmer would roll to his side, keeping his shoulders just shy of the vertical.’
    • ‘If the signal is slightly mistuned, the line is a bit buckled and rotated against the vertical.’
  • 2An upright structure.

    ‘we remodelled the opening with a simple lintel and unadorned verticals’
    • ‘Originally, this elongated oval, itself perfectly aligned with the vertical of the colonnette, would have been cut precisely in half by the diagonal of the spear.’
    • ‘Two intense verticals divide the format vertically, on the right hand side of which is more incised carpet, left a creamy hue.’
    • ‘The whiteness of the paint on the wooden verticals had the effect of dispersing the mass of the structures.’
    • ‘It is broadly composed around two matching verticals that suggest abstract maypoles.’
    • ‘They can be disturbing unless supported by verticals or opposing diagonals.’
    • ‘The horizon is low, the masts and hulks of the ships making a series of horizontals and verticals receding far into the distance.’
    • ‘The city's numerous verticals depict a rich trading past and its journey into the 21st century.’
    • ‘Cleveland Bays are natural jumpers, and they excel at verticals.’
    • ‘The emphatic verticals of sheet metal piling mark out the eastern and northern peripheries of the car park.’
    • ‘A Paul Nash-like landscape of stark black verticals against a black ground was created.’
    • ‘And a block down the road is the Jeppe Street Post Office, an impressive building in light grey granite with tall attractive verticals.’
    • ‘One by one they trotted and cantered over little crossbars and verticals and then filed out into the smaller grass ring that adjourned the hunt field.’
    • ‘I like to build verticals (multiple vintages) of wines and we need enough to both sell and age.’
  • 3The distance between the highest and lowest points of a ski area.

    ‘the resort claims a vertical of 2,100 metres’
    • ‘Without the verticals of Vail or Park City, they could never develop into anything more than regional, half-year ski destinations.’


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘directly overhead’): from French, or from late Latin verticalis, from vertex (see vertex).