Meaning of sexagesimal in English:


Pronunciation /ˌsɛksəˈdʒɛsɪm(ə)l/


  • 1Relating to or reckoning by sixtieths.

    • ‘a decimal system like ours or a sexagesimal system like the Babylonian’
  • 2Relating to the number sixty.

    ‘In ancient Babylon a sexagesimal system, that is a base of 60, was in use.’
    • ‘The Babylonian scale of enumeration is known as the sexagesimal system.’
    • ‘Writing developed and counting was based on a sexagesimal system, that is to say base 60.’
    • ‘No other culture of the ancient world developed a sexagesimal number system, although non-Sumerian groups adopted the Sumerian script to represent their languages and used their numerical system.’
    • ‘The most important of these was the sexagesimal place value system, widely associated with signs for the numbers 1, 10, 60, 600, and 3600.’


(also sexagesimal fraction)
  • A fraction based on sixtieths (i.e. with a denominator equal to a power of sixty), as in the divisions of the degree and hour.

    ‘The first deals with integers, the second with proper common fractions, the third with improper fractions, and finally the fourth with sexagesimals.’
    • ‘More fractions can therefore be represented as finite sexagesimal fractions than can as finite decimal fractions.’
    • ‘In fact there are fascinating glimpses of the Babylonians coming to terms with the fact that division by 7 would lead to an infinite sexagesimal fraction.’
    • ‘The necessary background mathematical tools are then introduced such as the arithmetical operations on sexagesimal fractions and the trigonometric functions.’
    • ‘It gave tables of sines with entries calculated to three sexagesimal places for each half degree of the argument.’


Late 17th century from Latin sexagesimus ‘sixtieth’ + -al.