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vector Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a variable quantity that can be resolved into components
  2. noun a straight line segment whose length is magnitude and whose orientation in space is direction
  3. noun any agent (person or animal or microorganism) that carries and transmits a disease
    • mosquitos are vectors of malaria and yellow fever
    • fleas are vectors of the plague
    • aphids are transmitters of plant diseases
    • when medical scientists talk about vectors they are usually talking about insects
  4. noun (genetics) a virus or other agent that is used to deliver DNA to a cell

Vec"tor noun
L., a bearer, carrier. fr. vehere, vectum, to carry.
  1. Same as Radius vector.
  2. (Math.) A directed quantity, as a straight line, a force, or a velocity. Vectors are said to be equal when their directions are the same their magnitudes equal. Cf. Scalar. ✍ In a triangle, either side is the vector sum of the other two sides taken in proper order; the process finding the vector sum of two or more vectors is vector addition (see under Addition).

Webster 1913