# parabola

## noun

pa·​rab·​o·​la
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

• 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 mass splashes out toward the periphery, forming something concave—a parabola. Emily Watlington, ARTnews.com, 22 July 2024 In the first step, the method allows a straight line in any triangle to bend into a parabola, and then, step by step, lines transition into ever more complex curves. Manil Suri, Scientific American, 25 June 2024 Trump and his entourage stood to leave, his lips a parabola meeting the sides of his chin. Graham Kates, CBS News, 31 May 2024 Then as far as each individual variable is concerned, the polynomial encoding the message traces out a simple parabola. Michael Greshko, Quanta Magazine, 10 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'parabola.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

## Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin, borrowed from Greek parabolḗ "juxtaposition, placement of a figure in contact with another, parabola" — more at parable

First Known Use

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of parabola was in 1575

parabola

## Cite this Entry

“Parabola.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parabola. Accessed 9 Aug. 2024.

## Kids Definition

parabola

noun
pa·​rab·​o·​la
1
: a curve formed by the intersection of a cone with a plane parallel to a straight line in its surface : a curve formed by a point moving so that its distance from a fixed point is equal to its distance from a fixed line
2
: something that is bowl-shaped
parabolic
ˌpar-ə-ˈbäl-ik