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

At the top, six overlapping steel arches would rise above each side of the tower to form a crowning parabolic dome. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "A Friendship Turned to Rivalry. A Feud That Changed the New York Skyline.," 27 Mar. 2019 Seven of the payloads will fly on New Shepard, five on Zero Gravity's parabolic aircraft, and three on high-altitude balloons from Near Space Corporation and World View Enterprises. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Lots of losers in small launch, Air Force award, Red (Bull) Mars," 7 Sep. 2018 The year is 212 B.C.E. The legend goes that Greek mathematician Archimedes, in an attempt to fight off a Roman invasion fleet, used a giant parabolic mirrors to concentrate sunlight on enemy ships, hoping to set them on fire. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Long, Weird History of Strobe Weapons," 11 Feb. 2019 This is because the energy required to reach orbit, in which a spacecraft is in free fall around the planet, is about 32 times greater than the energy needed for a parabolic flight to an altitude of 100km. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Virgin Galactic just flew to 82.68 kilometers—is this space?," 13 Dec. 2018 In particular, natural gas prices experienced a parabolic move over the past 3 trading sessions. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Energy Losses Prompt Emotional Video to Options Firm’s Clients," 21 Nov. 2018 This parabolic flow profile (shown below) solves the equations: something that has been known for over a century. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Depending on behavior, the systems were placed in elliptic, hyperbolic or parabolic categories. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Anatole Katok, mathematician who explored chaos theory, dies at 73," 9 May 2018 The New Shepard, named for astronaut Alan Shepard, will be Blue Origin's space tourism vehicle, launching passengers up on a parabolic arc before returning them to the ground after a short visit above the von Karman line. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Jeff Bezos Just Nailed a Vertical Rocket Landing," 24 Nov. 2015

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

3 May 2019

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Time Traveler for parabolic

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

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a tendency to relapse

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