AskDefine | Define alignment

Dictionary Definition



1 an organization of people (or countries) involved in a pact or treaty [syn: alliance, coalition, alinement] [ant: nonalignment]
2 the spatial property possessed by an arrangement or position of things in a straight line or in parallel lines
3 (astronomy) apparent meeting or passing of two or more celestial bodies in the same degree of the zodiac [syn: conjunction]
4 the act of adjusting or aligning the parts of a device in relation to each other

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. An arrangement of items in a line.
  2. The process of adjusting a mechanism such that its parts are aligned; the condition of having its parts so adjusted.
  3. An alliance of factions.
  4. The conjunction of two celestial objects.
  5. The precise route or course taken by a linear way (road, railway, footpath, etc.) between two points.


An arrangement of items in a line
The process of adjusing a mechanism such that its parts are aligned
An alliance of factions
Astronomy: The conjugation of two celestial objects
Transport: The preceise route or course taken by a linear way
Translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

Alignment is the adjustment of an object in relation with other objects, or a static orientation of some object or set of objects in relation to others.
It has a more specific meaning in some disciplines:
  • Typographic alignment, in typesetting, lines of text or images can be aligned left, right, centered or justified.
  • Sequence alignment shows similarities between protein or nucleic acid sequences (also in bioinformatics).
  • Structural alignment presents similarities in 3D structure of protein molecules.
  • Strategic alignment refers to business structure and information technology fit in relation to business strategy and external environment. When alignment is attained firm gains competitive advantage and increase performance. Strategic information systems belong in this category.
  • Wheel alignment in an automobile means adjustment of the camber, castor, and/or toe to improve performance and maintain proper tire wear characteristics of the car
  • Data structure alignment, in computer programming, refers to arranging data in memory
  • Parallel text alignment, in artificial intelligence
  • Ontology alignment, in heterogeneous knowledge bases, the expression of the correspondences between two ontologies is called ontology alignment
  • Body alignment, in sport and dance, the proper placement of the bones so that the muscles do less work
  • Morphosyntactic alignment, in linguistics, the properties determining the grammatical relationship between verbal arguments of various kinds
  • Fibre alignment, in optoelectronics, to connect two Optical fibers to each other
  • Shaft alignment, in mechanical engineering, to adjust two coupled rotating machines
Other fields where the term "alignment" has a particular meaning:
  • Ley line, an interpretation of an alignment of a number of places of geographical interest, such as ancient megaliths.
  • In integrated circuit fabrication, alignment is the step in a photolithographic process in which a mask used to pattern a layer of the circuit is registered in its x-y position with respect to the wafer (usually silicon) on which the circuit is being formed.
The Alignment was also a political party in Israel from 1965 to 1992.

See also

alignment in German: Alignement
alignment in French: Alignement
alignment in Italian: Allineamento
alignment in Japanese: アライメント

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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