hy·​per·​bo·​la | \hī-ˈpər-bə-lə \
plural hyperbolas or hyperbolae\hī-​ˈpər-​bə-​(ˌ)lē \

Definition of hyperbola 

: a plane curve generated by a point so moving that the difference of the distances from two fixed points is a constant : a curve formed by the intersection of a double right circular cone with a plane that cuts both halves of the cone

Illustration of hyperbola

Illustration of hyperbola

hyperbola: AB, CD axes; F, F′ foci; xy, zw asymptotes; h, h′, h″, h′′′ hyperbola

Examples of hyperbola in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The class doesn’t cover some lessons on circles, hyperbolas, and ellipses, but those topics are more relevant to precalculus, Gurule said. Shaina Cavazos, The Atlantic, "A Math Class That Makes Tax Season Easier," 9 Feb. 2018 Clouds are never spheres, nor mountains cones, nor Ponderosa pines; bark is not smooth; and where the land and sea so variously lie about each other and lightly kiss, is no hyperbola. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "How Poetry and Math Intersect," 24 Apr. 2018

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

First Known Use of hyperbola

1668, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hyperbola

New Latin, from Greek hyperbolē

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The first known use of hyperbola was in 1668

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More from Merriam-Webster on hyperbola

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hyperbola

Comments on hyperbola

What made you want to look up hyperbola? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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