I have a strong feeling that orthogonal is an antonym to linear. Google didn't show any such citation.

circular motion is counterpart of linear motion. I hope circular motion can be called as orthogonal motion.

  • 3
    No, circular is definitely not orthogonal. Orthogonal always involves eight angles. Circles involve no angles.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 20, 2017 at 12:34
  • 4
    "Orthogonal" is roughly the antonym of "parallel".
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 20, 2017 at 12:38
  • 5
    Orthogonality is orthogonal to linearity
    – Mitch
    Jul 20, 2017 at 12:49
  • 3
    @Dan Typing on a phone? I do believe you meant right angles, as opposed to limiting orthogonality to octagons. ;-) Jul 20, 2017 at 14:19
  • 5
    @JanusBahsJacquet Predictive typing has become sentient and made its sole focus assassinating my character in public. I'm sure of it.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 20, 2017 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


No. At least not in statistics. In fact, the relationship between orthogonal and linear might be orthogonal (i.e.independent).

Two random variables might be linearly independent and orthogonal, just as two variables might be linearly independent but not orthogonal. Similarly, two variables might be linearly dependent and therefore not orthogonal.

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(from here)


In circular motion, the object at any instant of time is making right angle with the centre of the circle. Since orthogonal also means lying/intersecting at a right angle, you could say that circular motion is orthogonal motion. But that doesn't make orthogonal an antonym of linear, even though circular and linear do qualify as antonyms. It is just that the physics of circular motion involves orthogonality.

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