Parametric Equation

Pronunciation: /ˌpær əˈmɛ trɪk ɪˈkweɪ ʃən/ Explain

A parametric equation is a set of equations with more than one dependent variables.[1] Figure 1 is an example of a parametric equation.


Figure 1 - Example of a parametric equation.

In figure 1, both y and x are dependent variables. The independent variable is t in both cases. For a set of equations to be a parametric equation, all dependent variables (x and y in this case) must depend on the same independent variable (t in this case).

Parametric equations are used in physics to describe the location of particles over time. They are useful whenever more than one dependent variable depends on an independent variable.

Figure 2 is an example of a graph of a parametric equation. Click on the points on the blue sliders and drag them to change the parametric equation.

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Figure 2: Parametric equation drawn with GeoGebra.


  1. parametric equation. Encyclopedia Britannica. Merriam-Webster. Last Accessed 12/23/2009. equation.

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Parametric Equation. 8/7/2018. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

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Revision History

8/7/2018: Changed vocabulary links to WORDLINK format. (McAdams, David E.)
12/23/2009: Added "References". (McAdams, David E.)
9/2/2008: Changed graph to GeoGebra. (McAdams, David E.)
7/12/2007: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

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