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Mathematics. the curve assumed approximately by a heavy uniform cord or chain hanging freely from two points not in the same vertical line. Equation: y = k cos h (x / k).
(in electric railroads) the cable, running above the track, from which the trolley wire is suspended.
of, relating to, or resembling a catenary.
of or relating to a chain or linked series.
Historical Examples

Not at all: the catenary appears actually every time that weight and flexibility act in concert.
The Life of the Spider J. Henri Fabre

The versed sine, or deflection of the middle of the catenary, was 50 feet.
The life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Civil Engineer Isambard Brunel

The surface formed by revolving the catenary about its directrix is named the alysseide.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 5 Various

The only surface of revolution having this property is the catenoid formed by the revolution of a catenary about its directrix.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 3 Various

One of the most laborious and practically useful works of Giddy was a treatise on the properties of the catenary Curve.
Cornish Characters S. Baring-Gould

noun (pl) -ries
the curve assumed by a heavy uniform flexible cord hanging freely from two points. When symmetrical about the y-axis and intersecting it at y = a, the equation is y = a cosh x/a
the hanging cable between pylons along a railway track, from which the trolley wire is suspended
of, resembling, relating to, or constructed using a catenary or suspended chain

1872, from Latin catenarius “relating to a chain,” from catenanus “chained, fettered,” from catena “chain, fetter, shackle” (see chain (n.)). As a noun from 1788 in mathematics. Related: Catenarian.


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