Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Mathematics
a. 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.
b. One of a set of independent variables that express the coordinates of a point.
a. 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.
b. Usage Problem A factor that restricts what is possible or what results: "all the parameters of shelter—where people will live, what mode of housing they will choose, and how they will pay for it" (New York).
c. A factor that determines a range of variations; a boundary: an experimental school that keeps expanding the parameters of its curriculum.
3. Statistics A quantity, such as a mean, that is calculated from data and describes a population.
4. Usage Problem A distinguishing characteristic or feature.

[New Latin parametrum, a line through the focus and parallel to the directrix of a conic : Greek para-, beside; see para-1 + Greek metron, measure; see -meter.]

par′a·met′ric (păr′ə-mĕt′rĭk), par′a·met′ri·cal adj.
par′a·met′ri·cal·ly adv.
Usage Note: The term parameter, which originates in mathematics, has a number of specific meanings in fields such as astronomy, electricity, crystallography, and statistics. Perhaps because of its ring of technical authority, people have applied parameter more generally in recent years to refer to any factor that determines a range of variations and especially to a factor that restricts what results from a process or policy. In this use, the word parameter is used to mean "the particular value of a parameter," and comes close to meaning "a set limit or boundary." For example, a budget can be thought of as a set of parameters that determine a range of activity, much like a set of mathematical parameters that establish the range of effects, or limits, of other variables. The sentence A budget is a framework that defines the financial parameters within which an organization operates was considered acceptable by 81 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2004 survey. Parameter is sometimes used incorrectly when it does not denote a range of variation, as if it were a technical-sounding synonym for characteristic. In 1988, 88 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence The Judeo-Christian ethic is one of the important parameters of Western culture. In 2004, 77 percent rejected this same sentence, suggesting that familiarity has not bred tolerance of this usage.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.parametric - of or relating to or in terms of a parameter; "parametric equation"
References in periodicals archive ?
Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC ( Parametric ), a subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp.
NYSE: EV) subsidiary Parametric has announced the retirement of Parametric chief operating officer Andy Abramsky, effective August 31, 2013.
The latest CAD tools for mold design also apply parametric solids-based technology to automating mold-base design.
One mechanism, called parametric instability, occurs when the bubble wall oscillates, distorting the bubble's spherical shape.
Topics covered include parametric amplification and polariton liquids, quantum fluid and non-linear dynamical effects and parametric instabilities, polariton squeezing.
Flow Focuses on Systematic Variation Impact on Catastrophic and Parametric Issues
NASDAQ: PDFS) introduced a new release of its Circuit Surfer([R]) software for characterizing and optimizing the parametric yield of analog and radio frequency (RF) integrated circuit (IC) designs.
NYSE:A) today announced a new test solution that makes parametric test a viable option for the yield ramp-up phase for the first time by allowing users to test more structures in less time with greater throughput.
Investors have been shying away from indemnity catastrophe bonds and gravitating towards index-based parametric catastrophe bonds.
Pink Sheets: WSDT) today announced that has it has licensed its broad fundamentally weighted dividend index family to Parametric Portfolio Associates of Seattle, Washington.
announced that it is offering an emerging markets equity capability to institutional clients managed by its subsidiary, Parametric Portfolio Associates.