One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(Originally) a point on a surface at which the indicatrix is a parabola, i.e. where a plane parallel to, and an infinitesimal distance from, the tangent plane at that point intersects the surface in a parabola; (now) a point on a surface at which the Gaussian curvature is zero.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William T. Brande (1788–1866), chemist.
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