Parameter definition

pə-rămĭ-tər
Frequency:
Any constant, with variable values, used as a referent for determining other variables.
noun
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(math.) A quantity or constant whose value varies with the circumstances of its application, as the radius line of a group of concentric circles, which varies with the circle under consideration.
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The definition of a paramater is a guideline, boundary or outer limit.

An example of parameter is a guideline in which an experiment is to take place.

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(geometry) In the ellipse and hyperbola, a third proportional to any diameter and its conjugate, or in the parabola, to any abscissa and the corresponding ordinate.

The parameter of the principal axis of a conic section is called the latus rectum.

noun
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(1) Any value passed to a program by the user or by another program in order to configure the program for a particular purpose. A parameter may be anything; for example, a file name, a coordinate, a range of values, a money amount or a code of some kind. Parameters may be required as in parameter-driven software (see below) or they may be optional. Parameters are often entered as a series of values following the program name when the program is loaded; for example, a DOS switch defines a parameter. In the command dir /p the /p is a parameter switch that means pause after every screenful.
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(usage problem) A distinguishing characteristic or feature.
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(statistics) A quantity, such as a mean, that is calculated from data and describes a population.
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(programming) A name in a function or subroutine definition that is replaced by, or bound to, the corresponding actual argument when the function or subroutine is called: a formal parameter.

Roughly, a tuple of arguments could be thought of as a vector, whereas a tuple of parameters could be thought of as a covector (i.e., linear functional). When a function is called, a parameter tuple becomes "bound" to an argument tuple, allowing the function instance itself to be computed to yield a return value. This would be roughly analogous to applying a covector to a vector (by taking their dot product (or, rather, matrix-product of row vector and column vect)) to obtain a scalar.

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(programming) The value which is passed into the function to instantiate such a name; the argument or actual parameter.
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A characteristic or feature that distinguishes something from others.
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(crystallography) The ratio of the three crystallographic axes which determines the position of any plane.
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(crystallography) The fundamental axial ratio for a given species.
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A constant in an equation that varies in other equations of the same general form, especially such a constant in the equation of a curve or surface that can be varied to represent a family of curves or surfaces.
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One of a set of independent variables that express the coordinates of a point.
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One of a set of measurable factors, such as temperature and pressure, that define a system and determine its behavior and are varied in an experiment.
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(usage problem) A factor that restricts what is possible or what results.
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A factor that determines a range of variations; a boundary.

An experimental school that keeps expanding the parameters of its curriculum.

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A boundary or limit.
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A factor or characteristic.
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(mathematics, physics) A variable kept constant during an experiment, calculation or similar.
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Alternative Forms

Alternative Form of parameter - parametre

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
parameter
Plural:
parameters

Origin of parameter

  • New Latin parametrum a line through the focus and parallel to the directrix of a conic Greek para- beside para–1 Greek metron measure –meter

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French paramètre, from New Latin parametrum (“parameter"), from Ancient Greek παρά (para, “beside") + μέτρον (metron, “measure").

    From Wiktionary