# Definition:Cartesian Coordinate System

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## Definition

A Cartesian coordinate system is a coordinate system in which the position of a point is determined by its relation to a set of perpendicular straight lines.

These straight lines are referred to as coordinate axes.

## Also defined as

In the definition of a Cartesian coordinate system, some older sources do not specify that the coordinate axes have to be perpendicular.

That is, such sources include oblique coordinate systems in the category of Cartesian coordinate systems

Such sources then refer to a Cartesian coordinate system in which the axes are specifically perpendicular as a rectangular coordinate system.

However, this is non-standard, and the contemporary view is that Cartesian coordinate systems are rectangular by default.

## Also known as

Cartesian coordinates are also known as rectangular coordinates or orthogonal coordinates.

## Also see

• Results about cartesian coordinate systems can be found here.

## Source of Name

This entry was named for René Descartes.