What does catenary mean?

Definitions for catenary
ˈkæt nˌɛr i; esp. Brit. kəˈti nə ricate·na·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word catenary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. catenarynoun

    the curve theoretically assumed by a perfectly flexible and inextensible cord of uniform density and cross section hanging freely from two fixed points


  1. catenarynoun

    The curve described by a flexible chain or a rope if it is supported at each end and is acted upon only by no other forces than a uniform gravitational force due to its own weight.

  2. catenarynoun

    The curve of an anchor cable from the seabed to the vessel; it should be horizontal at the anchor so as to bury the flukes.

  3. catenarynoun

    A system of overhead power lines that provide trains, trolleys, buses, etc., with electricity, having a straight conductor wire and a bowed suspension cable.

  4. Etymology: From catenaria, in turn from catena. Attested since 1788.


  1. catenary

    A catenary is a type of curve formed by a perfectly flexible, uniformly dense, and inextensible cable suspended by its endpoints in a uniform gravitational field. This curve appears in the shape of a U and it is the graph of the hyperbolic cosine function. The term "catenary" is derived from the Latin word "catēnārius," which means "of a chain".

Webster Dictionary

  1. Catenaryadjective

    alt. of Catenarian

  2. Catenarynoun

    the curve formed by a rope or chain of uniform density and perfect flexibility, hanging freely between two points of suspension, not in the same vertical line


  1. Catenary

    In physics and geometry, a catenary[p] is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends. The curve has a U-like shape, superficially similar in appearance to a parabola. It also appears in the design of certain types of arches and as a cross section of the catenoid—the shape assumed by a soap film bounded by two parallel circular rings. The catenary is also called the "alysoid", "chainette", or, particularly in the material sciences, "funicular". Mathematically, the catenary curve is the graph of the hyperbolic cosine function. The surface of revolution of the catenary curve, the catenoid, is a minimal surface, and is the only minimal surface of revolution other than the plane. The mathematical properties of the catenary curve were first studied by Robert Hooke in the 1670s, and its equation was derived by Leibniz, Huygens and Johann Bernoulli in 1691. Catenaries and related curves appear in architecture and engineering, in the design of bridges and arches. A sufficiently heavy anchor chain will form a catenary curve.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Catenary

    kat-ē′nar-i, n. the curve formed by a flexible homogeneous cord (such as a chain), hanging freely between two points of support, and acted on by no other force than gravity.—adj. relating to a chain, like a chain—also Catenā′rian.—n. Catē′na, a chain or connected series, as in Catena Patrum, a chronological series of extracts from the Fathers on any doctrine of theology.—v.t. Cat′enāte to connect as in a chain.—n. Catenā′tion. [L. catenarius, pertaining to a chain—catēna, chain.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of catenary in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of catenary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

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"catenary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/catenary>.

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