Definition of parabola in English:


Line breaks: par|ab¦ola
Pronunciation: /pəˈrab(ə)lə

noun (plural parabolas or parabolae /-liː/)

A symmetrical open plane curve formed by the intersection of a cone with a plane parallel to its side. The path of a projectile under the influence of gravity follows a curve of this shape.
More example sentences
  • The solutions to the equations describing the motions produced by this law are called conic sections - ellipses, hyperbolae and parabolae - which you get by intersecting a plane and a cone.
  • Newton and Kepler left behind the tools for constructing flight paths from simple conic sections - bits of parabolas, hyperbolas, ellipses, and the ubiquitous circle - and their use is now a highly developed art.
  • Menaechmus is famed for his discovery of the conic sections and he was the first to show that ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas are obtained by cutting a cone in a plane not parallel to the base.


late 16th century: modern Latin, from Greek parabolē 'placing side by side, application', from para- 'beside' + bolē 'a throw' (from the verb ballein).

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