par·​a·​bol·​ic | \ ˌper-ə-ˈbä-lik How to pronounce parabolic (audio) , ˌpa-rə-\

Definition of parabolic

1 : expressed by or being a parable : allegorical
2 : of, having the form of, or relating to a parabola motion in a parabolic curve

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Other Words from parabolic

parabolically \ ˌper-​ə-​ˈbä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce parabolically (audio) , ˌpa-​rə-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

The two distinct meanings of "parabolic" trace back to the development of Late Latin and New Latin. Late Latin is the Latin language used by writers in the third to sixth centuries. In that language, the word for "parable" was "parabola" - hence, the "parable" sense of "parabolic." New Latin refers to the Latin used since the end of the medieval period, especially in regard to scientific description and classification. In New Latin, "parabola" names the same geometrical curve as it does in English. Both meanings of "parabola" were drawn from the Greek word for "comparison": "parabolē."

Examples of parabolic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The craft throttled its engine and maneuvered eastward, taking a parabolic path to a pinpoint landing on a nearby ground pad. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "SpaceX's Starhopper prototype soars in 150-meter 'hop test'," 28 Aug. 2019 The telescope, which consists of a set of 300 parabolic antennas, is being completed in the Northern Cape region of South Africa and is set to start taking data this month. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The Quest to Unlock the Secrets of the Baby Universe," 26 Aug. 2019 This would give him a parabolic trajectory (for the position-time plot). Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Fact-Check the Physics of Captain America Hammering Thanos," 7 Aug. 2019 Beneath its twin parabolic arches, there’s a big, round, glass-walled dining room (now idle) that generations of confused travelers have mistaken for the airport’s traffic control tower. Christopher Reynolds,, "Is LAX's Theme Building coming back to life as part of an on-airport hotel?," 12 June 2019 Centrifugal force will pull the surface into a parabolic shape. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Could humanity’s return to the moon spark a new age of lunar telescopes?," 18 July 2019 In a stroke of good fortune, making a jet using a circular opening produces a gas with a parabolic density profile. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gas jets make beautiful lens for light we can’t normally focus," 21 Dec. 2018 Children play on a parabolic swing bridge and a tortoiseshell-like armored tank, derived from Leonardo’s notebooks. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 In essence, juggling comes down to simple projectile motion, with each ball following a neat parabolic arc as it is tossed — except that there are multiple balls following interweaving paths in periodically repeating patterns. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "The Mathematics of Juggling," 24 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parabolic.' 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 parabolic

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for parabolic

in sense 1, from Late Latin parabola parable; in sense 2, from New Latin parabola

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Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for parabolic

The first known use of parabolic was in the 15th century

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