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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
1570-1580
1570-80; < Neo-Latin < Greek parabolḗ an application. See parable
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for parabola
  • Scenarios are best kept for the theatre, postures for the gym, parameters for the parabola.
  • As you have probably seen before, the trajectory is a parabola.
  • Fitting a parabola to the data gives the acceleration.
  • The tip of the parabola will, mathematically, be a singularity.
  • Some people are disappointed because the top of the parabola isn't all that high.
  • But look at the graceful parabola traced by water squirting from a sprinkler, or watch a football arcing through the air.
  • The white ball sails into the sparkling air in a high parabola and vanishes over the fence, again.
  • The values of a, b, and c determine where the parabola is positioned in the plane and whether it opens up or down.
  • In such a system, the receiver tube is positioned along the focal line of each parabola-shaped reflector.
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
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parabola
parabola
1570s, from Gk. parabole "parabola, 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
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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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
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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