as·​ymp·​tote ˈa-səm(p)-ˌtōt How to pronounce asymptote (audio)
: a straight line associated with a curve such that as a point moves along an infinite branch of the curve the distance from the point to the line approaches zero and the slope of the curve at the point approaches the slope of the line
asymptotic adjective
asymptotically adverb

Illustration of asymptote

Illustration of asymptote
  • asymptotes to the hyperbola

Examples of asymptote in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Death, though, is not an asymptote. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Apr. 2023 In contrast, speed over middle and long distances, at least at the elite level, appears to be reaching an asymptote. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 21 July 2017 Bear in mind, though, that hyperbolic functions diverge to infinity at the asymptote. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 2 Feb. 2018 Across the world, most countries have reopened but there remains disquieting uncertainty on whether or not the pandemic has indeed approached its asymptote of endemicity. David Walcott, Forbes, 17 May 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'asymptote.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from New Latin *asymptotus, from Greek asymptōtos not meeting, from a- + sympiptein to meet — more at symptom

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of asymptote was in 1656

Dictionary Entries Near asymptote

Cite this Entry

“Asymptote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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