# parabola

[puh-rab-uh-luh] /pəˈræb ə lə/
noun, Geometry
1.
a plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone with a plane parallel to a generator of the cone; the set of points in a plane that are equidistant from a fixed line and a fixed point in the same plane or in a parallel plane. Equation: y 2 = 2 px or x 2 = 2 py.
Origin of parabola
1570-1580
1570-80; < New Latin < Greek parabolḗ an application. See parable
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for parabola
Historical Examples
• The elliptical mirror, varying from the parabola by less than the breadth of a hair, throws an image which is useless.

Mark Rutherford
• He reached the height of the 'parabola,' and is now about to descend.

Maurus Jkai
• Again, the mass-centre of a chain of 983 particles connected by strings, projected anyhow under gravity, will describe a parabola.

• You will remember that a Republican State is represented by a parabola.

P. Hampson
• In her he sees the motion of stars and planets, the lines of sphere, parabola and ellipse.

L. (Lizzy) Lind-af-Hageby
• Its actual path will be a curve, which in this case is a parabola.

Oliver Lodge
• Evidently, then, it is not safe to class it as a parabola because of inability to detect the elements of an ellipse.

Herbert Spencer
• A heavy silver match-box was tossed in a parabola through the air.

Stephen McKenna
• The word transcendental is like a parabola, in that there is no knowing where its meaning ends.

Charles Hodge
• This curve—called the parabola—is that of all projected or bounding objects.

John Ruskin
British Dictionary definitions for parabola

## parabola

/pəˈræbələ/
noun
1.
a conic section formed by the intersection of a cone by a plane parallel to its side. Standard equation: y² = 4ax, where 2a is the distance between focus and directrix
Word Origin
C16: via New Latin from Greek parabolē a setting alongside; see parable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parabola
n.

1570s, from Modern Latin parabola, from Greek parabole "parabola, comparison, analogy; application" (see parable), so called by Apollonius of Perga c.210 B.C.E. because it is produced by "application" of a given area to a given straight line. It had a different sense in Pythagorean geometry. Related: Parabolic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parabola in Science
 parabola   (pə-rāb'ə-lə)    The curve formed by the set of points in a plane that are all equally distant from both a given line (called the directrix) and a given point (called the focus) that is not on the line.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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parabola in Culture
parabola [(puh-rab-uh-luh)]

A geometrical shape (see geometry) consisting of a single bend and two lines going off to an infinite distance.

Note: An object that is propelled away from the Earth and then drawn back by gravity, such as a fly ball in baseball, follows a path shaped like a parabola.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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