[awr-bi-tl] /ˈɔr bɪ tl/

of or relating to an .
Physics, Chemistry.

of or denoting an orbit
(of a motorway or major road circuit) circling a large city
a region surrounding an atomic nucleus in which the probability distribution of the electrons is given by a wave function
an orbital road

1540s, with reference to eye sockets; 1839 with reference to heavenly bodies; from orbit (n.) + -al (1).

orbital or·bit·al (ôr’bĭ-tl)
Relating to an orbit.

A partial description of the quantum state of an electron (or other particle) orbiting the nucleus of an atom. Different orbitals have different shapes and orientations, depending on the energy of the electron, its angular momentum, and its magnetic number. Orbitals have no clear boundaries; the shape of an orbital, as depicted graphically, shows only the regions around the nucleus in which an electron has a relatively high probability of being found. No more than two electrons (each with opposite spin) can coexist in a single orbital because of the Pauli exclusion principle. See also probability wave, quantum number, shell..


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  • Orbital-angular-momentum

    noun, Physics. 1. the component of angular momentum of an electron in an atom or a nucleon in a nucleus, arising from its orbital motion rather than from its spin.

  • Orbital cavity

    orbital cavity n. The bony cavity containing the eyeball and its associated muscles, vessels, and nerves. Also called eye socket, orbit.

  • Orbitale

    [awr-bi-tey-lee] /ˌɔr bɪˈteɪ li/ noun 1. Craniometry, Cephalometry. the lowermost point on the lower margin of the left orbit, located instrumentally on the skull or by palpation on the head. orbitale or·bi·ta·le (ôr’bĭ-tā’lē) n. The lowermost point in the lower margin of the bony orbit that may be felt under the skin.

  • Orbital gyrus

    orbital gyrus n. Any of the small, irregular convolutions on the concave inferior surface of each frontal lobe of the cerebrum.

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