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 That bent spacetime causes the path of a free-falling object to curve, resulting in the parabolic arc of a cannonball on Earth or the elliptical orbit of the Moon. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Famous shadow of black hole provides novel test for new theories of gravity," 2 Oct. 2020 One idea is to use the naturally parabolic lunar crater as a radio dish, much like the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico and the FAST telescope in China, which are built into natural depressions in the land. Daniel Oberhaus Supercluster, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Astronomers Want to Build a SETI Observatory on the Moon," 2 Oct. 2020 Indians catcher Roberto Perez smashed a parabolic microphone behind home plate. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Rain delays, goofy comments, more: How ESPN did with Wild Card Game 2 Yankees-Indians coverage," 1 Oct. 2020 While in the air, the skilled pilots will perform a series of parabolic arcs, which cause a brief state of weightlessness in the air. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Attention New Yorkers: You Can Take a Helicopter to a Zero-G Flight Experience This Week," 27 Sep. 2020 Some parabolic cookers, however, can weigh as much as 35 pounds, because the solar-collector dish is large, and a stabilizing stand is often included in the kit. Michael Pollick,, "The best solar oven," 19 Sep. 2020 Lowry’s parabolic pass landed right in Anunoby’s lap. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Kyle Lowry’s beautiful pass, Dame Time ranked, NBA coaching diversity, Ja Morant’s rookie of the year: Playoffs news and notes," 4 Sep. 2020 This is called parabolic flight, and thinking about it too much is a little nauseating by proxy. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "That Time the Air Force Tossed Cats in Zero Gravity," 24 Aug. 2020 Drawing on interviews with people inside and outside her campaign, Christopher Cadelago charted Harris’ parabolic bid for president, from its initial momentum to its floundering final month. Mollie Simon, ProPublica, "Kamala Harris Reading Guide: The Best Reporting on the Vice Presidential Candidate," 12 Aug. 2020

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

(sense 1) Middle English parabolik, borrowed from Late Latin parabolicus, borrowed from Greek parabolikós "figurative," from parabolḗ "comparison, parable" + -ikos -ic entry 1; (sense 2) borrowed from New Latin parabolicus, from parabola parabola + -icus -ic entry 1

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Time Traveler for parabolic

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Parabolic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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