Definitions

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

  • adj. Having a slanting or sloping direction, course, or position; inclined.
  • adj. Mathematics Designating geometric lines or planes that are neither parallel nor perpendicular.
  • adj. Botany Having sides of unequal length or form: an oblique leaf.
  • adj. Anatomy Situated in a slanting position; not transverse or longitudinal: oblique muscles or ligaments.
  • adj. Indirect or evasive: oblique political maneuvers.
  • adj. Devious, misleading, or dishonest: gave oblique answers to the questions.
  • adj. Not direct in descent; collateral.
  • adj. Grammar Designating any noun case except the nominative or the vocative.
  • n. An oblique thing, such as a line, direction, or muscle.
  • n. Nautical The act of changing course by less than 90°.
  • adv. At an angle of 45°.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not erect or perpendicular; neither parallel to, nor at right angles from, the base; slanting; inclined.
  • adj. Not straightforward; indirect; obscure; hence, disingenuous; underhand; perverse; sinister.
  • adj. Not direct in descent; not following the line of father and son; collateral.
  • adj. Having the base of the blade asymmetrical, with one side larger or extending further than the other.
  • n. An oblique line.
  • n. The punctuation sign "/"
  • n. The oblique case.
  • v. To deviate from a perpendicular line; to move in an oblique direction.
  • v. 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not erect or perpendicular; neither parallel to, nor at right angles from, the base; slanting; inclined.
  • adj. Not straightforward; indirect; obscure
  • adj. Not direct in descent; not following the line of father and son; collateral.
  • n. An oblique line.
  • intransitive v. To deviate from a perpendicular line; to move in an oblique direction.
  • intransitive v. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. In anatomy, an oblique muscle: as, the external oblique of the abdomen. See obliquus.
  • 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.
  • n. In geometry, except the perpendicular, any sect from a point to a straight or a plane.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any grammatical case other than the nominative
  • adj. indirect in departing from the accepted or proper way; misleading
  • n. a diagonally arranged abdominal muscle on either side of the torso
  • adj. slanting or inclined in direction or course or position--neither parallel nor perpendicular nor right-angled

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin oblīquus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, oblike, from Latin oblīquus ("slanting, sideways, indirect, envious") (Wiktionary)

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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • The postero-medial border, sometimes called the oblique line, begins above at the medial side of the head, and ends by becoming continuous with the interosseous crest at the lower fourth of the bone.

    II. Osteology. 6c. 6. The Fibula

  • In the two sentences that now follow from Mr. Morley, the offending comma of the first parts centre, which is what grammarians call the oblique complement, from its verb made; the offending comma of the second parts the direct object groups from its verb drew.

    Grammar & Punctuation.

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