Conic Section

Pronunciation: /ˈkɒn.ɪk ˈsɛk.ʃən/ Explain

A conic section is a 2-dimensional figure formed by intersecting the surface of a 3-dimensional double cone with a plane (see figure 1).[2] Four 2-dimensional figures that can be formed are the circle, ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola. Conic sections were studied as early as 200 BC by Apollonius of Perga.

Diagram showing the conic sections circle, ellipse, parabola, hyperbola as projections on a plane of the double cone.
Figure 1: Conic Sections. Courtesy Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Table of conics, Cyclopaedia, 1728
Figure 2: Table of Conics, Cyclopaedia, 1728. Click on picture to see full size.


  1. McAdams, David E.. All Math Words Dictionary, conic section. 2nd Classroom edition 20150108-4799968. pg 43. Life is a Story Problem LLC. January 8, 2015. Buy the book
  2. conic section. Encyclopedia Britannica. Merriam-Webster. Last Accessed 6/25/2018. section. Buy the book
  3. Drew, Rev. W. H.. A geometrical treatise on conic sections. 4th edition. MacMillan and Company. 1869. Last Accessed 6/25/2018. Buy the book
  4. Hamilton, Rev. Henry Parr. An Analytical System of Conic Sections. 5th edition. article 79-80. John W. Parker. 1863. Last Accessed 6/25/2018. Buy the book

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Conic Section. 12/21/2018. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

Image Credits

Revision History

12/21/2018: Reviewed and corrected IPA pronunication. (McAdams, David E.)
6/25/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup, updated GeoGebra apps. (McAdams, David E.)
10/11/2008: Changed definition to refer to the 'surface' of a double cone. (McAdams, David E.)
7/7/2008: Corrected link errors. Corrected spelling (McAdams, David E.)
4/28/2008: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

All Math Words Encyclopedia is a service of Life is a Story Problem LLC.
Copyright © 2018 Life is a Story Problem LLC. All rights reserved.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License