## Cartesian coordinates

(mathematics, graphics) (After Renee Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician) A pair of numbers, (x, y), defining the position of a point in a two-dimensional space by its perpendicular projection onto two axes which are at right angles to each other. x and y are also known as the abscissa and ordinate.

The idea can be generalised to any number of independent axes.

Compare polar coordinates.

Last updated: 1997-07-08

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