gone parabolic (UNCLASSIFIED)

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 2 23:20:52 UTC 2010

I believe the writer was looking for imagery to express exponential growth,
and reached, mistakenly, for a parabola.

On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 6:02 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: gone parabolic (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 12/2/2010 05:26 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> >@Joel--the short answer is no. It is hyperbola that approaches a
> >straight line as you move away from center, not parabola. Quadratic
> >growth ALWAYS exceeds linear growth /eventually/, no matter what the
> >linear growth rate is. Exponential growth, on the other hand, ALWAYS
> >exceeds polynomial growth /eventually/, no matter what the degree of the
> >polynomial is. To put is simply, a parabolic curve is one of /constant
> >acceleration/, so it would be inaccurate to describe it as you did.
> I had forgotten about the hyperbola.  Although both the parabola and
> hyperbola extend to infinity.
> But I now wonder if there's another source of the "gone parabolic" --
> the writer first conflated "hyperbole/hyperbolic" (thinking of the
> growth as "excessive") with "hyperbola/hyperbolic", and then somehow
> chose a different conic section, the parabola?
> Joel
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