associated with a sequence like a chain as a catenary bend
- The curve created by a rope or chain of consistent density and perfect versatility holding easily between two points of suspension perhaps not in identical vertical line
- the bend theoretically assumed by a perfectly versatile and inextensible cable of consistent density and cross-section holding freely from two fixed points
- Alt. of Catenarian
- The bend created by a rope or sequence of uniform density and perfect flexibility, holding freely between two things of suspension, perhaps not in the same vertical range.
1872, from Latin catenarius "relating to a chain," from catenanus "chained, fettered," from catena "sequence, fetter, shackle" (see string (letter.)). As a noun from 1788 in math. Relevant: Catenarian.
Hence the tangents at A and B to the upper catenary must intersect above the directrix, and the tangents at A and B to the lower catenary must intersect below the directrix.