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[as-im-toht] /ˈæs ɪmˌtoʊt/
noun, Mathematics
a straight line approached by a given curve as one of the variables in the equation of the curve approaches infinity.
1650-60; < Greek asýmptōtos, equivalent to a- a-6 + sýmptōtos falling together (sym- sym- + ptōtós falling, derivative of ptō-, variant stem of píptein to fall + -tos verbid suffix) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for asymptote
  • The miss distance is illustrated for the more distant flyby and is the separation of the asymptote from the planet's center.
  • Therefore, launch at any other time would be targeted to a slightly non-optimal asymptote.
British Dictionary definitions for asymptote


a straight line that is closely approached by a plane curve so that the perpendicular distance between them decreases to zero as the distance from the origin increases to infinity
Word Origin
C17: from Greek asumptōtos not falling together, from a-1 + syn- + ptōtos inclined to fall, from piptein to fall
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 asymptote

"straight line continually approaching but never meeting a curve," 1650s, from Greek asymptotos "not falling together," from a- "not" + syn "with" + ptotos "fallen," verbal adjective from piptein "to fall" (see symptom). Related: Asymptotic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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asymptote in Science

A line whose distance to a given curve tends to zero. An asymptote may or may not intersect its associated curve.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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