from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. See rhumb line.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A line on a surface (such as the Earth) that cuts all meridians at a constant angle (but not a right angle).
- n. The path followed by a ship or aircraft that maintains a constant course by the compass.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A loxodromic line.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a line on a sphere that cuts all meridians at the same angle; the path taken by a ship or plane that maintains a constant compass direction
Mercator also produced the first globe to have rhumb lines (1541), based on his observation that a ship sailing towards the same point of the compass would follow a curve called a loxodrome (also called a rhumb line or spherical helix).
In "De arte navigandi" he announced his discovery and analysis of the curve of double curvature called the rumbus, better known as loxodrome, which is the line traced by a ship cutting the meridians at a constant angle.
his vocabulary alone is worth the cover price - gantries, quinquireme, discalced, carrack, loxodrome, godown, scutch, so shrewd in his deployment of detail, so blessed with good luck and goodwill that we forget the conceit and just enjoy the ride.