Meaning of asymptote in English:


Pronunciation /ˈasɪm(p)təʊt/


  • A straight line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance.

    ‘In book two Apollonius investigates how hyperbolas are related to their asymptotes, and he also studies how to draw tangents to given conics.’
    • ‘These models, which more closely resemble reality, involve one or two curves tending towards asymptotes.’
    • ‘It simply means that, like a lot of science, absolute and mechanical objectivity is an asymptote we must always approach without quite reaching.’
    • ‘Like the asymptote, you are always approaching your goal, but you never achieve it.’
    • ‘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.’


Mid 17th century from modern Latin asymptota (linea) ‘(line) not meeting’, from Greek asumptōtos ‘not falling together’, from a- ‘not’ + sun ‘together’ + ptōtos ‘apt to fall’ (from piptein ‘to fall’).