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See more synonyms for parabolic on Thesaurus.com
  1. having the form or outline of a parabola.
  2. having a longitudinal section in the form of a paraboloid or parabola: a parabolic reflector.
  3. of or relating to a parabola.
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Origin of parabolic1

First recorded in 1695–1705; parabol(a) + -ic


  1. of, relating to, or involving a parable.
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Sometimes par·a·bol·i·cal.

Origin of parabolic2

1650–60; < Late Latin parabolicus metaphoric < Late Greek parabolikós figurative, equivalent to Greek parabol(ḗ) parable + -ikos -ic
Related formspar·a·bol·i·cal·ism, nounpar·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·par·a·bol·i·cal, adjectivenon·par·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for parabolic

Historical Examples

  • To a stranger it is just a little confusing to be so parabolic—so to speak.

    Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete

    Albert Bigelow Paine

  • The walls then rise, in parabolic outline, to a pointed apex.

    History of Ancient Art

    Franz von Reber

  • A type of parabolic reflector now in use is shown in fig. 30.

  • The two shapes in use are the triangular and the parabolic or balloon-shaped.

  • The parabolic mirror will reflect the star to a perfect focus.

    Catharine Furze

    Mark Rutherford

British Dictionary definitions for parabolic


  1. of, relating to, or shaped like a parabola
  2. shaped like a paraboloida parabolic mirror
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  1. of or resembling a parable
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Derived Formsparabolically, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for parabolic


mid-15c., from Late Latin parabolicus, from late Greek parabolikos "figurative," from parabole (see parable). Related: Parabolical.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper