Definition of hyperbola in US English:



  • 1A symmetrical open curve formed by the intersection of a circular cone with a plane at a smaller angle with its axis than the side of the cone.

    • ‘Let us begin where we left off, with the quadratic curves known as the circle, ellipse, hyperbola and parabola.’
    • ‘High values of these parameters yield a hyperbola.’
    • ‘The only visible sun seemed to be divided into two halves of orange, like an inverted hyperbola.’
    • ‘You depart Earth on a hyperbola, segue into an ellipse around the sun, and approach your destination on another hyperbola.’
    • ‘There are many topics covered in the book including a study of circles, triangles, geometric series, ellipses, parabolas and hyperbolas.’
    • ‘By the time I finish with you you're not just going to fly circles around those scum, but ellipsoids, helices, and hyperbolae.’
    • ‘There are three non-degenerate conics: the ellipse, the parabola, and the hyperbola.’
    • ‘It feels as if all that laughter's going in a hyperbola above my head, with one of them sitting behind me and the other directly before me.’
    • ‘Long-period comets can have orbits ranging from eccentric ellipses to parabolas to even modest hyperbolas.’
    • ‘She was up in her attic one afternoon, trying to concentrate on where to place her asymptotes on her hyperbola, but her mind traveled elsewhere.’
    • ‘It's the other conic sections that confuse me, like ellipses and hyperbolas.’
    • ‘At an eccentricity of exactly one you have a parabola, and for eccentricities greater than one the orbit traces a hyperbola.’
    • ‘This function is a hyperbola in the valid domain for plant growth.’
    • ‘Probably also in 1654 Brouncker computed the quadrature of the hyperbola although he did not publish this result until 1668.’
    • ‘Enter the hyperbolas, parabolas, transitions and floaters who make up the Wolves’ zone defense.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics The pair of hyperbolas formed by the intersection of a plane with two equal cones on opposites of the same vertex.
      • ‘The first shows that if AB is a fixed line then locus of a point P such that 2 angle PAB = angle PBA is a hyperbola.’
      • ‘The equation of this curve can be shown to be that of a hyperbola whose curvature is inversely related to the value of V.’
      • ‘He read Wallis's method for finding a square of equal area to a parabola and a hyperbola which used indivisibles.’
      • ‘She had given up on math once her books had started trying to explain how to graph a hyperbola; it was just to confusing.’
      • ‘Angeli's many works were on infinitesimals and he used them to study spirals, parabolas and hyperbolas.’


Mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek huperbolē ‘excess’ (from huper ‘above’ + ballein ‘to throw’).