conic section


Definition of conic section

1 : a plane curve, line, pair of intersecting lines, or point that is the intersection of or bounds the intersection of a plane and a cone with two nappes
2 : a curve generated by a point which always moves so that the ratio of its distance from a fixed point to its distance from a fixed line is constant

Illustration of conic section

Illustration of conic section

conic section 1: 1 straight lines, 2 circle, 3 ellipse, 4 parabola, 5 hyperbola

Examples of conic section in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Given one rational point P on such a graph, there is an elegant way to find all the other rational points: Simply take each line that passes through P with a rational slope, and calculate the line’s second intersection point with the conic section. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Shed Light on Minimalist Conjecture," 9 July 2013 The graphs of such curves are the conic sections — circles, parabolas, ellipses and hyperbolas. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Shed Light on Minimalist Conjecture," 9 July 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conic section.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of conic section

1664, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of conic section was in 1664

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Cite this Entry

“Conic section.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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