# Orthogonal

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Hi,

I believe the first definition for orthogonal is not the vector or Cartesian
definition but rather from geometry.

Where, for example, polygonal means a closed shape made up from many line
segments, orthogonal means a closed shape made from line segments at right
angles to each other. The simplest being the square.

DeCarte used the concept of ortho- to describe the relationship between the
axis of his measurement system, hence orthogonal. Strictly speaking
orthogonal is a misnomer and should be orthometric or 'measurements at right
angles'.

I am interested in how orthogonal obtained its variety of other meanings. I
run across it in linguistics, computer science, philosophy, etc. In most of
them it means some sort of pure or simple relationship. Unfortunately I
can't find any sort of description of how it got expanded this way.

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