The Meaning of Trajectory: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of trajectory? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word trajectory, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word trajectory mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word trajectory is a noun that refers to the curve or path that a moving object follows as it moves, or figuratively, the course something follows over time. A trajectory is the curved path of a projectile like an asteroid or a given series of curves in a dynamical system. The influence of such forces like gravity cause a moving object to have a trajectory. Trajectory is four syllables – tra-jec-to-ry, and the pronunciation of trajectory is trə-jĕk-tə-rē. One can add the suffix ries to make the plural trajectories. We know the trajectory of many objects due to gravity based on Aristotle’s thinking and Galileo’s laws, as well as the vast number of such possible trajectories in classical mechanics from Hamiltonian mechanics. 

The trajectory of an object can refer to many things, such as the orbit of a comet, a constant angle of movement in geometry, the path of a body, the course of development, a steeper upward curve, improved trajectory of a flight path, the path of a planet, the trajectory of Google, the trajectory of ballistics dependent on their central mass as a function of time, parabolic trajectories in a gravitational field due to a given family of curves, the trajectory of a particle, the momentum of a missile’s trajectory in free fall, the geometry of a path of a planetary body, the position of the object in spaceflight on tis ray path, the center of gravity of the projectile that brings its trajectory down, the trajectory of an air force rocket-fuel project, time ideas of the trajectory that lead to a rapid upward trajectory of rich people,  the trajectory of a rail guided missile through an azure sky past a ridge, the trajectory of dust trails captured by a camera, a thin line of the calculated trajectory for the path of the parent comet, the perfect trajectory the bullet took out of the missile of the gun, the parabolic trajectory of projectiles, the trajectory of an exocet missile, the trajectory of a projectile, a new trajectory of the orbit of Mars after a long period of time, the stereotypical trajectory of this thought after hearing postwar family stories, types of trajectories dependent on life course and maximum range, contradictory trajectories, a complete trajectory of something in astronomy going a given speed, charting space-satellite trajectories, and more.

There are many different languages that use words that mean trajectory. You may notice that sometimes different languages have words that are very close to English words or to words of other languages. This is usually because the words share a root or origin. Often, cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages, are formed when words share an origin. This list of translations for the word trajectory is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Lithuanian: trajektòrija‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: yörünge‎
  •  Russian: траекто́рия‎ (fem.)
  •  Cyrillic: трајекторија‎ (fem.), путања‎
  •  Norwegian: bane‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: rata‎, lentorata‎
  •  Portuguese: (Brazil) trajetória‎ (fem.), (Europe) trajectória‎ (fem.)
  •  Catalan: trajectòria‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 軌道‎ (きどう, kidō), (ballistic) 弾道‎ (だんどう, dandō)
  •  German: Flugbahn‎ (fem.), Bahn‎ (fem.), Trajektorie‎ (fem.)
  •  Spanish: trayectoria‎ (fem.)
  •  Slovene: trajektórija‎ (fem.)
  •  Basque: traiektoria‎
  •  Galician: traxectoria‎ (fem.)
  •  Mandarin: 軌道‎, 轨道‎ (guǐdào), (ballistic) 彈道‎, 弹道‎ (dàndào)
  •  Hebrew: מַסְלוּל‎
  •  Greek: τροχιά‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: traiectorie‎ (fem.)
  •  French: trajectoire‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: röppálya‎
  •  Esperanto: trajektorio‎
  •  Roman: trajektòrija‎ (fem.), putanja‎
  •  Vietnamese: quỹ đạo‎ (軌道‎)
  •  Czech: dráha‎ (fem.), trajektorie‎ (fem.)
  •  Tagalog: imbulog‎

What is the origin of trajectory?

According to Etymonline, the word trajectory has been used since the 1690s in Middle English. This word comes from the Modern Latin trajectorium and trajectorius, New Latin trāiectōria/Latin traiectorium, Latin trāiectus/Latin traiectus, and the Latin trans.

What are synonyms and antonyms of trajectory?

There are a variety of equivalent words that one can use in place of the word trajectory. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same or a similar meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word trajectory is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  arc
  •  round
  •  path
  •  catenary
  •  circle
  •  ambit
  •  flow
  •  revolution
  •  route
  •  direction
  •  ogee
  •  loci
  •  tack
  •  bearing
  •  way
  •  line
  •  bearings
  •  apogee
  •  track
  •  movement
  •  rotation
  •  hyperbola
  •  rondure
  •  flight path
  •  trail
  •  compass reading
  •  flight
  •  concavity
  •  orbits
  •  horseshoes
  •  pathway
  •  circumgyration
  •  traject
  •  meniscus
  •  range
  •  chords
  •  incurvature
  •  orbit
  •  incurvation
  •  orbital
  •  walk
  •  flights
  •  circuit
  •  course
  •  flying
  •  chord
  •  heading
  •  ellipse
  •  curve
  •  orientation

How can the word trajectory be used in a sentence?

The word trajectory can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making quizzes for yourself or testing yourself with flashcards. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below is an example of trajectory.

The trajectory of local business profiles was trending upward with the advent of SEO marketing. Eddie Johnson implemented these tools for website visibility which led to solid site performance, and the city’s current deputy Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as the police superintendent applauded him for improving the trajectory of e-commerce for local businesses.

Overall, the word trajectory means a path an object is on. In fluid mechanics, this can refer to a particular type of motion of a single point or parcel using vertical velocity, horizontal velocity, and minimum energy


  1. Trajectory definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. trajectory: meaning, translation, pronunciation | Word Sense 
  3. trajectory | Origin and meaning of trajectory | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Trajectory synonyms – 248 Words and Phrases for Trajectory | Power Thesaurus