Definitions for orthogonalɔrˈθɒg ə nl
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
or•thog•o•nalɔrˈθɒg ə nl(adj.)
Math. pertaining to or involving right angles or perpendiculars.
Ref: Also, orthographic. 2
Crystall. referable to a rectangular set of axes.
Origin of orthogonal:
1565–75; obs. orthogon(ium) right triangle
extraneous, immaterial, impertinent, orthogonal(adj)
not pertinent to the matter under consideration
"an issue extraneous to the debate"; "the price was immaterial"; "mentioned several impertinent facts before finally coming to the point"
having a set of mutually perpendicular axes; meeting at right angles
"wind and sea may displace the ship's center of gravity along three orthogonal axes"; "a rectangular Cartesian coordinate system"
Of two objects, at right angles; perpendicular to each other.
A chord and the radius that bisects it are orthogonal.
Statistically independent, with reference to variates.
Of two or more aspects of a problem, able to be treated separately.
The content of the message should be orthogonal to the means of its delivery.
Of two or more problems or subjects, independent of or irrelevant to each other.
Origin: From Medieval Latin orthogonalis, from orthogonius.
The New Hacker's Dictionary
[from mathematics] Mutually independent; well separated; sometimes, irrelevant to. Used in a generalization of its mathematical meaning to describe sets of primitives or capabilities that, like a vector basis in geometry, span the entire ‘capability space’ of the system and are in some sense non-overlapping or mutually independent. For example, in architectures such as the PDP-11 or VAX where all or nearly all registers can be used interchangeably in any role with respect to any instruction, the register set is said to be orthogonal. Or, in logic, the set of operators not and or is orthogonal, but the set nand, or, and not is not (because any one of these can be expressed in terms of the others). Also used in comments on human discourse: “This may be orthogonal to the discussion, but....”