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The Standard Electrical Dictionary
Co-ordinates, System of
A system for indicating the position of points in space by reference to fixed lines, intersecting at a determined and arbitrary point 0, termed the origin of co-ordinates. In plane rectangular co-ordinates two lines are drawn through the origin, one horizontal, termed the axis of abscissas, or axis of X. All distances measured parallel to it, if unknown, are indicated by x, and are termed abscissas. The other axis is vertical, and is termed the axis of ordinates, or axis of Y. All distances measured parallel to it, if unknown, are indicated by y and are termed ordinates. Thus by naming its abscissa and ordinate a point has its position with reference to the axes determined, and by indicating the relation between a point, line or curve, and a system of abscissas and ordinates, the properties of a line or curve can be expressed algebraically. Co-ordinates may also be inclined to each other at any other angles, forming oblique co-ordinates; relations may be expressed partly in angles referred to the origin as a centre, giving polar co-ordinates. For solid geometry or calculations in three dimensions, a third axis, or axis of Z, is used, distances parallel to which if unknown are indicated by z.
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