1650-60; < Greekasýmptōtos, equivalent to a-a-^{6} + sýmptōtos falling together (sym-sym- + ptōtós falling, derivative of ptō-, variant stem of píptein to fall + -tos verbid suffix)
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
"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.