Originally Posted by Minnewaska
Then look it up in Webster.
A catenary is not only a dip in a line but also something in the form of a catenary. I was referring to the latter and you clearly understood what I meant.
Sorry - that I figured out what you meant when you misused a word doesn't mean your usage is okay. That simply isn't what a catenary means, particularly in a discussion relating to structural strength. Vocabulary IS important. Language is all we have to communicate with and if we don't use it properly we don't communicate effectively.
What (I think) you were describing is a valid and applicable factor in where a boat lies at anchor in light air. The word you used is not appropriate.
A catenary is:
the curve assumed approximately by a heavy uniform cord or chain hanging freely from two points not in the same vertical line. Equation: y = k cos h ( x / k ).
The four dictionaries I checked concur. I did not find any definition that uses the terminology "similar."
Of course dictionaries do track common usage no matter how misleading. I'm still wound up over considering 'presently' and 'currently' as synonyms so maybe it's just me.