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See also: obliqué




From Middle French oblique, from Latin oblīquus (slanting, sideways, indirect, envious)


In the US Military the 'oblique' command is pronounced 'ob LIKE.'


oblique (comparative obliquer, superlative obliquest)

  1. Not erect or perpendicular; neither parallel to, nor at right angles from, the base; slanting; inclined.
    • 1725, George Cheyne, Philosophical Principles of Religion, page 16:
      when it has a Direction oblique to that of the former Motion, it is either added to, or subtracted from the former Motion
  2. Not straightforward; indirect; obscure; hence, disingenuous; underhand; perverse; sinister.
    • 1630, Michael Drayton, “The Third Nimphall”, in The Muses Elyzium:
      For the love we bear our friends, / Tho nere so strongly grounded, / Hath in it certain oblique ends / If to the bottome sounded
    • 1840, Thomas De Quincey, “Style. No. II”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 387:
      This mode of oblique research, where a more direct one is denied, we find to be the only one in our power.
    • 1849, William Wordsworth, “Humanity”, in The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth:
      Then would be closed the restless, oblique eye / That looks for evil, like a treacherous spy
  3. Not direct in descent; not following the line of father and son; collateral.
    • 1665, Richard Baker, “The Reign of King Henry the First”, in A Chronicle of the Kings of England, page 49:
      His natural affection in a direct line was strong; in an oblique, but weak; for no man ever loved Children more, or a Brother less.
  4. (botany) Of leaves, having the base of the blade asymmetrical, with one side lower than the other.
    Oblique leaf bases of Ulmus americana
    • 1892, Leo Lesquereux, The Flora of the Dakota Group, page 78:
      Leaves long, lanceolate, tapering upward from the middle to an acute point, [] secondaries very oblique, distinct, alternate, parallel, curved in transversing the blade
  5. (botany) Of branches or roots, growing at an angle that is neither vertical nor horizontal.
    • 1997, A. Stokes and D. Guitard, “Tree Root Response to Mechanical Stress”, in Arie Altman & ‎Yoav Waisel, editors, Biology of Root Formation and Development, page 233:
      Oblique and sinker roots will normally be under a greater compression stress than lateral roots.
  6. (grammar) Pertaining to the oblique case (non-nominative).
  7. (music) Employing oblique motion, motion or progression in which one part (voice) stays on the same note while another ascends or descends.
    • 1837, Allan Cunningham, “Music”, in The Popular Encyclopedia, page 109:
      In passing from the minor third to unison, the motion ought to be oblique, but from the major third to unison the motion ought to be similar

Derived termsEdit



oblique (plural obliques)

  1. (geometry) An oblique line.
  2. (typography) Synonym of slash/⟩.
    • 1965, Dmitri A. Borgmann, Language on Vacation, page 240:
      Initial inquiries among professional typists uncover names like slant, slant line, slash, and slash mark. Examination of typing instruction manuals discloses additional names such as diagonal and diagonal mark, and other sources provide the designation oblique.
    • 1990, John McDermott, Punctuation for Now, page 20:
      Other Chaucerian manuscripts had the virgule (or virgil or oblique: /) at the middle of lines.
  3. (grammar) The oblique case.


Derived termsEdit


oblique (third-person singular simple present obliques, present participle obliquing, simple past and past participle obliqued)

  1. (intransitive) To deviate from a perpendicular line; to move in an oblique direction.
    • 1814, Sir Walter Scott, Waverly:
      he sat upon the edge of his chair [] and achieved a communication with his plate by projecting his person towards it in a line which obliqued from the bottom of his spine
  2. (military) To march in a direction oblique to the line of the column or platoon; — formerly accomplished by oblique steps, now by direct steps, the men half-facing either to the right or left.
  3. (transitive, computing) To slant (text, etc.) at an angle.





  1. feminine plural of obliquo




  1. vocative masculine singular of oblīquus