When engineers speak, we sometimes have vocabulary diffusion from one situation to another. These slips of phrases aren’t arbitrary; they make sense, but only if you know where the term comes from originally.
In this series of posts, I’ll attempt to explain one phrase you may have heard an engineer say before. (Many of these terms may be computer science-related, but I’ve caught myself using all of them around non-technical people.)
For our first installment of “terms of art:”
orthogonal |ɔrˈθɑgənl| adjective
a fancy word for perpendicular; extends to other technical fields beyond math : these two lines are orthogonal.
Out of context
- at odds with each other; incompatible : the company’s forceful slogan was orthogonal to its otherwise wholesome branding.
- fundamentally different : this bug is orthogonal to the first issue.
Agree or disagree in the comments. Feel free to also suggest future terms of art!
P.S.: Since “orthogonal” means “right-angled,” does that mean an “orthogon” is a fancy word for “rectangle?”