Definition of parameter in English:

parameter

Syllabification: pa·ram·e·ter
Pronunciation: /pəˈramitər
 
/

noun

technical
1A numerical or other measurable factor forming one of a set that defines a system or sets the conditions of its operation: the transmission will not let you downshift unless your speed is within the lower gear’s parameters
More example sentences
  • The programming uses script files that contain specific system parameters to operate in each of these modes.
  • The set of code modules includes code modules associated with a plurality of system configuration parameters.
  • Now we need to optimize the system and improve its operation parameters and design.
1.1 Mathematics A quantity whose value is selected for the particular circumstances and in relation to which other variable quantities may be expressed.
More example sentences
  • As gene diversity is a continuous variable, the expected value of the parameter was calculated using a sliding window of 0.0125.
  • Choosing different values for the various parameters in the equation he then tried to investigate when situations were stable and when they were unstable.
  • The real effort goes into testing these hypotheses and calculating the true values of parameters such as N.
1.2 Statistics A numerical characteristic of a population, as distinct from a statistic of a sample.
More example sentences
  • Such a ‘rate’ can be modeled statistically by the probability parameter of a binomial distribution.
  • The spiral pattern is sufficiently regular that it leads to a numerical parameter characteristic for the species, called its divergence.
  • Typically, polymorphism in a sample is needed to perform those tests and estimate population parameters.
1.3(In general use) a limit or boundary that defines the scope of a particular process or activity: they set the parameters of the debate
More example sentences
  • First, I do not accept the framework you outline above as limiting the parameters of our debate.
  • However, I can't get away from the fact that my guiding parameters are somewhat limited by my lack of motoring knowledge.
  • One of the main benefits of a home birth is the amount of control a mother can exercise over the location and parameters of the birthing process.
Synonyms
framework, variable, limit, boundary, limitation, restriction, criterion, guideline

Origin

mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek para- 'beside' + metron 'measure'.

Usage

Until recently, use of the word parameter was confined to mathematics and related technical fields. Since around the mid 20th century, however, it has been used in nontechnical fields as a technical-sounding word for ‘a limit or boundary,’ as in they set the parameters of the debate. This use, probably influenced by the word perimeter, has been criticized for being a weakening of the technical sense. Careful writers will leave parameter to specialists in mathematics, computer science, and other technical disciplines. As a loose synonym for limit, boundary, guideline, framework, it is a vogue word that blurs more than it clarifies. Perimeter is a different word, meaning ‘border, outer boundary, or the length of such a boundary.’.

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