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[puh-rab-uh-luh] /pəˈræb ə lə/
noun, Geometry.
a plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone with a plane parallel to a generator of the cone; the set of points in a plane that are equidistant from a fixed line and a fixed point in the same plane or in a parallel plane. Equation: y 2 = 2 px or x 2 = 2 py.
Origin of parabola
1570-80; < New Latin < Greek parabolḗ an application. See parable Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for parabola


a conic section formed by the intersection of a cone by a plane parallel to its side. Standard equation: y² = 4ax, where 2a is the distance between focus and directrix
Word Origin
C16: via New Latin from Greek parabolē a setting alongside; see parable
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 parabola

1570s, from Modern Latin parabola, from Greek parabole "parabola, comparison, analogy; application" (see parable), so called by Apollonius of Perga c.210 B.C.E. because it is produced by "application" of a given area to a given straight line. It had a different sense in Pythagorean geometry. Related: Parabolic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parabola in Science

The curve formed by the set of points in a plane that are all equally distant from both a given line (called the directrix) and a given point (called the focus) that is not on the line.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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parabola in Culture
parabola [(puh-rab-uh-luh)]

A geometrical shape (see geometry) consisting of a single bend and two lines going off to an infinite distance.

Note: An object that is propelled away from the Earth and then drawn back by gravity, such as a fly ball in baseball, follows a path shaped like a parabola.
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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