Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



From Late Latin catenaria, in turn from Latin catēna (chain). Attested since 1788.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /kəˈtiːn.əɹi/, /kəˈtɛn.æɹi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkæt n ˌɛɹ i/
  • (file)


catenary (comparative more catenary, superlative most catenary)

  1. Relating to a chain; like a chain.


catenary (plural catenaries)

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


Further reading[edit]