Glossary of Medical Terms

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ABSCISSA

One of the elements of reference by which a point, as of a curve, is referred to a system of fixed rectilineal coordinate axes. When referred to two intersecting axes, one of them called the axis of abscissas, or of X, and the another the axis of ordinates, or of Y, the abscissa of the point is the distance cut off from the axis of X by a line drawn through it and parallel to the axis of Y. When a point in space is referred to three axes having a general intersection, the abscissa may be the distance measured parallel to either of them, from the point to the plane of the another two axes. Abscissas and ordinates taken together are called coordinates. OX or PY is the abscissa of the point P of the curve, OY or PX its ordinate, the intersecting lines OX and OY being the axes of abscissas and ordinates respectively, and the point O their origin. Origin: L, fem. Of abscissus, p. P. Of absindere to cut of. See Abscind. Source: Websters Vocabulary
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