Today I had a student in my college algebra class ask me why "Quadratic Equations" are so named. If we have a polynomial of degree 3 set equal to zero, we call it a cubic equation and that makes sense to these students. However, this particular student is curious because she sees "Q-U-A-D" in quadratic and thinks of four, yet the polynomial in such an equation is only of degree 2. I've never encountered this question before and I was at a loss for an explanation. Does anyone know the origin of the term "quadratic equation"? I would be very grateful to receive an answer.