Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having a slanting or sloping direction, course, or position; inclined.
  • adjective Mathematics Designating geometric lines or planes that are neither parallel nor perpendicular.
  • adjective Botany Having the part on one side of the midrib of a different size or shape than the part on the other side. Used of a leaf.
  • adjective Anatomy Situated in a slanting position; not transverse or longitudinal.
  • adjective Indirect or evasive.
  • adjective Devious, misleading, or dishonest.
  • adjective Not direct in descent; collateral.
  • adjective Grammar Designating any noun case except the nominative or the vocative.
  • noun An oblique thing, such as a line, direction, or muscle.
  • noun Nautical The act of changing course by less than 90°.
  • adverb At an angle of 45°.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To deviate from a direct line or from the perpendicular; slant; slope.
  • To advance slantingly or obliquely; specifically (military), to advance obliquely by making a half-face to the right or left and marching in the new direction.
  • noun In geometry, except the perpendicular, any sect from a point to a straight or a plane.
  • Of lines or planes, making with a given line, surface, or direction an angle that is less than 90°; neither perpendicular nor parallel; of angles, either acute or obtuse, not right; in general, not direct; aslant; slanting. See cuts under angle.
  • Indirect, in a figurative sense: as, an oblique reproach or taunt.
  • Questionable from a moral point of view; not upright or morally direct; evil.
  • In botany, unequal-sided.
  • noun In anatomy, an oblique muscle: as, the external oblique of the abdomen. See obliquus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To deviate from a perpendicular line; to move in an oblique direction.
  • intransitive verb (Mil.) To march in a direction oblique to the line of the column or platoon; -- formerly accomplished by oblique steps, now by direct steps, the men half-facing either to the right or left.
  • noun (Geom.) An oblique line.
  • adjective Not erect or perpendicular; neither parallel to, nor at right angles from, the base; slanting; inclined.
  • adjective Not straightforward; indirect; obscure
  • adjective Not direct in descent; not following the line of father and son; collateral.
  • adjective See under Angle, Ascension, etc.
  • adjective (Arch.) an arch whose jambs are not at right angles with the face, and whose intrados is in consequence askew.
  • adjective a skew bridge. See under Bridge, n.
  • adjective (Gram.) any case except the nominative. See Case, n.
  • adjective (Projection) a circle whose plane is oblique to the axis of the primitive plane.
  • adjective (Mil.) a fire the direction of which is not perpendicular to the line fired at.
  • adjective (Fort.) that part of the curtain whence the fire of the opposite bastion may be discovered.
  • adjective (Bot.) A leaf having one half different from the other.
  • adjective (Geom.) a line that, meeting or tending to meet another, makes oblique angles with it.
  • adjective (Mus.) a kind of motion or progression in which one part ascends or descends, while the other prolongs or repeats the same tone, as in the accompanying example.
  • adjective (Anat.) a muscle acting in a direction oblique to the mesial plane of the body, or to the associated muscles; -- applied especially to two muscles of the eyeball.
  • adjective See Oblique speech.
  • adjective (Dialing) planes which decline from the zenith, or incline toward the horizon.
  • adjective (Naut.) the movement of a ship when she sails upon some rhumb between the four cardinal points, making an oblique angle with the meridian.
  • adjective (Rhet.) speech which is quoted indirectly, or in a different person from that employed by the original speaker.
  • adjective (Astron. & Geog.) the celestial or terrestrial sphere when its axis is oblique to the horizon of the place; or as it appears to an observer at any point on the earth except the poles and the equator.
  • adjective (Mil.) a step in marching, by which the soldier, while advancing, gradually takes ground to the right or left at an angle of about 25°. It is not now practiced.
  • adjective (Anal. Geom.) a system in which the coördinate axes are oblique to each other.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Not erect or perpendicular; neither parallel to, nor at right angles from, the base; slanting; inclined.
  • adjective Not straightforward; indirect; obscure; hence, disingenuous; underhand; perverse; sinister.
  • adjective Not direct in descent; not following the line of father and son; collateral.
  • adjective botany, of leaves Having the base of the blade asymmetrical, with one side larger or extending further than the other.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin oblīquus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, oblike, from Latin oblīquus ("slanting, sideways, indirect, envious")

Examples

  • Anytime you see a sign like that, you see this fracture, what we call an oblique fracture so it kind of spirals up, we know that he had some unbelievable force at his ankle that transmitted up through his fibula and fractured it.

    T.O.

  • Anytime you see a sign like that, you see this fracture, what we call an oblique fracture so it kind of spirals up, we know that he had some unbelievable force at his ankle that transmitted up through his fibula and fractured it.

    T.O.

  • The MRI doesn't show anything significant, but I learned a long time ago, when the word 'oblique' is mentioned, I get nervous.

    News - latimes.com

  • This led to what Mr. Burnett described — in oblique terms — as a true life-threatening event.

    A Bad Business

  • Despicable villains insinuate themselves into the MacDonalds 'homes, and a coven of strange old hags straight from Shakespeare's Scottish play enter stage left to spin oblique prophesies.

    Susan Fletcher's "Corrag," reviewed by Ron Charles

  • Mr. Droga declined to reveal locations beforehand (including the veracity of the Times Square example), but did describe the campaign in oblique terms.

    Jay-Z Memoir Gets Creative Ad Campaign

  • Mr. Droga declined to reveal locations beforehand (including the veracity of the Times Square example), but did describe the campaign in oblique terms.

    Jay-Z Memoir Gets Creative Ad Campaign

  • Miss Margland, extremely piqued, vented her spleen in oblique sarcasms, and sought to heal her offended pride by appeals for justice to her sagacity and foresight in the whole business.

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth

  • This fenfe of the word oblique refpeets the pofition of a leaf; and is exemplified in Prctea and Fritillaria.

    The language of botany : being a dictionary of the terms made use of in that science, principally by Linneus ...

  • The cul-de-sac enclosed between the limbs of the U lies behind the left atrium and is known as the oblique sinus, while the passage between the venous and arterial mesocardia—i. e., between the aorta and pulmonary artery in front and the atria behind—is termed the transverse sinus.

    V. Angiology. 4a. The Pericardium

Comments

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  • "...You seem to move back and forth between sounding deeply rational and completely insane." He nodded. "It's a difficulty of manner," he said. "I'm oblique, they tell me. You know I'm an orphan, right?" From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 21, 2012