pa·​rab·​o·​la | \ pə-ˈra-bə-lə How to pronounce parabola (audio) \

Definition of parabola

1 : a plane curve generated by a point moving so that its distance from a fixed point is equal to its distance from a fixed line : the intersection of a right circular cone with a plane parallel to an element of the cone
2 : something bowl-shaped (such as an antenna or microphone reflector)

Illustration of parabola

Illustration of parabola

parabola 1: F fixed point; CD fixed line; x moving point; AB axis; xy distance from x to CD; pp′ parabola

Examples of parabola in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The problem is that the arc of a player’s career follows the same parabola as Curry’s shots. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Stephen Curry Wants to Get Better at Shooting," 8 Oct. 2018 Even the single, round headlight is a real glass parabola, rimmed in polished aluminum. Fortune, "Is the Bigger, Beefier Ducati Scrambler 1100 the One for You?," 27 June 2018 Mexico 68 oscillated, in its effects, between the modern and the folkloric, parabolas and papier-mache, pictograms and totems. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Lessons from LA’s 1984 Summer Olympics," 17 May 2018 The effect is something like watching little kids unsuccessfully trying to work two jump-ropes at once, resulting in wriggly, out-of-sync parabolas. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Cannes Review: Jean-Luc Godard's The Image Book Confounds and Dazzles," 14 May 2018 Johnson held her follow through and backpedaled as the ball traveled its parabola path to the rim. Ben Baskin,, "Arike Ogunbowale Etches Her Name Into March Lore as Notre Dame Shocks UConn in Final Four," 31 Mar. 2018 To brush up on algebra, a parabola is a particular type of arc that is defined by the exact curvature of its sides. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "Your Burning Questions About the Olympic Torch, Answered," 9 Feb. 2018 The performances, particularly from Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany (as Bauman’s girlfriend, Erin Hurley), are certainly Oscar-worthy, and the story arc largely follows the inspirational parabola of Hollywood screenwriting. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Stronger Is a Profound, Oscar-Worthy Gem," 22 Sep. 2017 Engineers say the Inuit, through trial and error, devised a design based on a parabola, not a semicircle, eliminating the forces that would make a true hemisphere bulge and collapse. Craig S. Smith, The Seattle Times, "Making igloos: a vanishing art in the Arctic," 7 July 2017

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

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First Known Use of parabola

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for parabola

New Latin, from Greek parabolē, literally, comparison

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Time Traveler for parabola

The first known use of parabola was in 1575

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English Language Learners Definition of parabola

technical : a curve that is shaped like the path of something that is thrown forward and high in the air and falls back to the ground

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More from Merriam-Webster on parabola

Spanish Central: Translation of parabola

Nglish: Translation of parabola for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parabola for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about parabola

Comments on parabola

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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