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[hahy-pur-buh-luh] /haɪˈpɜr bə lə/
noun, Geometry.
the set of points in a plane whose distances to two fixed points in the plane have a constant difference; a curve consisting of two distinct and similar branches, formed by the intersection of a plane with a right circular cone when the plane makes a greater angle with the base than does the generator of the cone. Equation: x 2 /a 2y 2 /b 2 = ±1.
Origin of hyperbola
1660-70; < New Latin < Greek hyperbolḗ the geometrical term, literally, excess. See hyperbole Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for hyperbola


noun (pl) -las, -le (-ˌliː)
a conic section formed by a plane that cuts both bases of a cone; it consists of two branches asymptotic to two intersecting fixed lines and has two foci. Standard equation: x²/a² – y²/b² = 1 where 2a is the distance between the two intersections with the x-axis and b = a√(e² – 1), where e is the eccentricity
Word Origin
C17: from Greek huperbolē, literally: excess, extravagance, from hyper- + ballein to throw
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hyperbola

1660s, from Latinized form of Greek hyperbole "extravagance," literally "a throwing beyond" (see hyperbole). Perhaps so called because the inclination of the plane to the base of the cone exceeds that of the side of the cone.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hyperbola in Science

Plural hyperbolas or hyperbolae (hī-pûr'bə-lē)
A plane curve having two separate parts or branches, formed when two cones that point toward one another are intersected by a plane that is parallel to the axes of the cones.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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hyperbola in Culture
hyperbola [(heye-pur-buh-luh)]

In geometry, a curve having a single bend, with lines going infinitely far from the bend.

Note: The path of a comet that enters the solar system and then leaves forever is a hyperbolic curve (half of a hyperbola).
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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