from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The coordinate representing the position of a point along a line perpendicular to the y-axis in a plane Cartesian coordinate system.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In mathematics: In the conic sections, that part of a transverse axis which lies between its vertex and a perpendicular ordinate to it from a given point of the conic. Thus (fig. 1), in the parabola PAC, AM, the part of the axis AB cut off by the ordinate PM, is the abscissa of the point P. In the system of Cartesian coördinates, a certain line used in determining the position of a point in a plane.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Geom.) One of the elements of reference by which a point, as of a curve, is referred to a system of fixed rectilineal coördinate axes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the value of a coordinate on the horizontal axis


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[New Latin (līnea) abscissa, (line) cut off, from Latin abscissa, feminine past participle of abscindere, to abscise; see abscission.]


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  • The curve also applies if the abscissa is changed to ‘Amount in Savings’.

    Nothing better to do. 2009

  • The independent - variable coordinate (usually x) of a point on the Cartesian plane is called the abscissa, and the dependent-variable coordinate (usually y) is called the ordi - nate.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows 2009

  • One such event is shown on the picture on the right: they infer that an air shower passed through the detector by observing The number of muons seen underground is an excellent estimator of the energy of the primary cosmic ray, as the Kascade collaboration result shown on the left shows (on the abscissa is the logarithm of the energy of the primary cosmic ray, and on the y axis the number of muons per square meter measured by the detector).

    A Quantum Diaries Survivor 2009

  • When you say “abscissa” your mouth opens sideways.

    Nothing better to do. 2009

  • The problem with matter is that it has dimensions and that the particles are not exactly on the same distance along the curvilinear abscissa within the gravitational field. we will try to mimic a situation where there is no influence on this horizontal plane.

    World-wide Campaign Sheds New Light on Nature's "LHC" | Universe Today 2010

  • Recently a Lovely new idea has arisen, that global cooling always occurs where Al Gore speaks, since Al usually speaks all over this planet and not too often from L3, this at least the abscissa seems reasonable.

    Archive 2008-11-01 EliRabett 2008

  • The line in the figure represents a distribution, with the abscissa representing “policy” or some aspect of a policy on a numerical scale.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Would love comments: 2007

  • When reading the mathematical psychology textbook, I was puzzled by the fact that all the choice problems were described in terms of gains and losses (actually, almost always gains), whereas the utility functions that were supposed to explain the choices were drawn with wealth as the abscissa.

    Daniel Kahneman - Autobiography 2003

  • The raw rock mountains shadowed in the late sun and to the east the shimmering abscissa of the desert plains under a sky where raincurtains hung dark as soot all along the quadrant.

    No Country For Old Men McCarthy, Cormac, 1933- 2005

  • Porrò ipsum Paradisi locum audiui à tribus plagis, orientali, meridionali, et septentrionali, inaccessibilem tam hominibus quàm bestijs, eo quòd apparet ripis perpendiculariter abscissa, tanquam inestimabilis altitudinis.

    The Voyages and Travels of Sir John Mandeville 2004


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  • The x-coordinate.

    September 25, 2007

  • Four years on, my personal declaration of, and against, lexical ignorance runs from "abscissa" (Cormac McCarthy) to "zugunruhe" (William Fiennes, who admittedly provided a helpful contextual explanation of this, the migratory restlessness of birds). James Meek

    January 3, 2008