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

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 Claira Chong can graph hyperbola but couldn't write a check. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2021 This same relationship between monetary aggregates and the value of a currency (a hyperbola, for those who remember geometry) applies to other advanced economies and to other monetary measures such as M2 money supply. Douglas Carr, National Review, 14 Sep. 2020 The graphs of such curves are the conic sections — circles, parabolas, ellipses and hyperbolas. Quanta Magazine, 9 July 2013 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, 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, 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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Time Traveler for hyperbola

Time Traveler

The first known use of hyperbola was in 1668

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Cite this Entry

“Hyperbola.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyperbola. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hyperbola

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hyperbola


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