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

  • adj. Of, relating to, causing, or characterized by rotation, especially axial rotation.
  • n. A part or device that rotates around an axis.
  • n. Chiefly New England See traffic circle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having or being capable of having rotation.
  • n. A traffic circle.
  • n. Usually with a capital initial, short for Rotary movement, an international club for community service.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Turning, as a wheel on its axis; pertaining to, or resembling, the motion of a wheel on its axis; rotatory.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Rotating; turning round and round, as a wheel on its axis; having or characterized by rotation: as, rotary animalcules; rotary motion.
  • Acting or held in rotation, as officers or an office; turn-about; rotating.
  • In metal-working, a serrated rotary steel tool used on a mandrel in a lathe for operating upon a piece of metal presented to it and fed toward it on a slide-rest or other analogous movable support.
  • In wood-working: A rotary chisel-edged cutter fastened to a cutter-head, or one of a gang of cutters so attached, used to cut away superfluous wood in shaping irregular forms, as in the manufacture of hames for harness, of fellies for wagon-wheels, of curved chair-legs, etc. A solid steel tool having rotating cutting edges, in the nature of a burring-tool or router, used in carving-machines for cutting ornamental figures in intaglio. In working upon wood with rotary cutters, the cutter-head shafts or cutter-spindles are sometimes carried by movable bearings, and guided after the manner of a tracing-point or stylus in a pantograph. In other machines the bearings of the cutter-head shafts or spindles are stationary, and the work is itself guided and moved to produce the required shape or pattern. See bur, 4 , and router. Compare also shaper and shaping-machine.
  • A valve which makes complete and successive revolutions, thus alternately bringing its port or ports into continuity and discontinuity with a port or ports in its seat. This kind of valve has been but little used.
  • n. In electricity, a rotary converter.

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

  • n. electrical converter consisting of a synchronous machine that converts alternating to direct current or vice versa
  • n. a road junction at which traffic streams circularly around a central island
  • adj. relating to or characterized by rotation
  • adj. describing a circle; moving in a circle


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

Medieval Latin rotārius, from Latin rota, wheel.


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