See also the
Browse High School Definitions
Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or
good places to begin browsing.
- Parabola [06/06/2001]
What is the meaning of the word parabola?
- Parallel Lines, Concentric Circles [04/24/2003]
If parallel means that two lines never intersect, would the lines
that form a circle drawn inside another circle be considered parallel?
- Pareto and Bar Charts [3/12/1997]
What are three distinguishing differences between Pareto Charts and Bar
- Parsec (pc) [10/26/2001]
One of the unit conversions my Casio fx-991MS calculator does is pc to km
and km to pc. What does "pc" mean in this context?
- Parts of a Cone [04/18/2001]
Does a solid cone have any edges?
- Pattern or Sequence? [10/02/2003]
What is the difference between a pattern and a sequence?
- Percentiles, from Top to Bottom [05/14/2014]
Ninety-eighth percentile, 99th percentile, ... 100th percentile? An adult wonders how
to number extreme percentiles. Doctor Peterson surveys the landscape of usage,
turning up inconsistencies with both the language and rounding protocols.
- Perimeter of an Oval [04/08/1999]
What is the perimeter of an oval called?
- Permutations, Combinations, Arrangements, and Strings [10/22/2007]
When a coin is tossed four times, is an outcome of HTTH considered a
permutation, a combination, or something else entirely?
- pH Definition [10/20/2001]
What is the 'p' in pH?
- Phi [05/18/1997]
What is phi?
- Pick's Theorem, Lattice Points, and Area [08/27/1998]
What is a lattice point, and how does it relate to the area of a
triangle, rectangle, and a circle?
- Point Symmetry [08/19/2001]
What exactly is point symmetry? How can one tell if point symmetry is
- Polyhedra: Classification, Theorem [02/12/1998]
I would like to know how polyhedrons are classified, which figures can be
used for the faces, and the theorem relating the faces, edges, and
- Polyhedra: Solids or Surfaces? [06/06/2003]
Is a polyhedron always a solid figure?
- Polynomial Basics and Terms [05/20/1998]
I'm having a lot of trouble understanding polynomials.
- Polynomial Degrees and Definition of a Field [03/02/1998]
The degree of polynomials added together, and definition of a field.
- Polyominoes [09/08/1997]
I am using polyominos, but I do not know how to tell my dad what they
are. How can I tell him so he will know?
- Power or Exponent? [10/14/2003]
I always thought that 'power' was just a synonym for 'exponent'. Is
- Principal Square Root Positive [10/24/2002]
Why are we always taught that the principal square root of a number is
- Product Notation [10/26/2000]
Can the pi symbol also be used to mean multiplying all the terms in a
- Profit Margin and Percentage Markup [02/16/2007]
I own a small business and am a little confused about the difference
between a percentage markup and a profit margin. Are they the same
thing? If not, how are they different?
- Pronumerals [05/14/2002]
What is a 'pronumeral'?
- Proofs with Isosceles Triangles [10/28/1998]
What are altitudes, angle bisectors, and medians? How do you prove that
in an isoseles triangle, the altitude is a median and an angle bisector?
- Properties? Axioms? What to Call Characteristics of Field, and When [07/14/2014]
An adult finds inconsistent labels for the characteristics of fields and rings. Doctor
Peterson explains how different levels of abstraction warrant different vocabulary.
- Proportionality Symbol [05/20/2003]
Do you know the name of the little symbol used in the topic of rates
and variation that means 'in proportion to'?
- Pyramids and Triangular Prisms [05/09/2000]
What's the difference between a pyramid and a triangular prism?
- Quadrant [03/25/2001]
What is a quadrant?
- Quadratic Equation [7/10/1996]
Why is a quadratic equation "quadratic"?
- Quadratic Equations [12/3/1995]
My students want to know why an equation of the second degree is referred
to as a quadratic equation. What does the prefix quad have to do with
second degree equations?
- Quadrilateral Classification: Definition of a Trapezoid [01/15/1997]
What is the correct definition of a trapezoid, and why?
- Quadrinomials [02/26/2001]
What is a quadrinomial, and how is it used?
- Quartile Conflict [03/01/2015]
A teacher struggles to reconcile conflicting ways to calculate quartiles. Referencing
several textbooks along the way, he and Doctor Peterson discuss the merits, and
drawbacks, of several methods — and further distinguish between those
procedures and actual definitions.
- Raised Cosines [01/28/2001]
What are raised cosines, and how do they work?
- Range - Difference or Difference + 1? [08/05/2003]
Is range the same as 'difference' or not?
- Range, Mean, Median, and Mode [11/17/1998]
Why do we study range, mean, median, and mode? How will these concepts
help me in real life?
- Rate of Change of Distance [05/02/2002]
Speed is defined as the rate of change of distance moved with time.
What is meant by 'rate of change of distance'?
- Recognizing a Function From a Graph [09/03/2003]
How do you know whether a graph represents a function?
- Rectangular Hyperbola [06/11/2002]
The graph of a rectangular hyperbola looks nothing like a rectangle.
Where does the name come from?
- Reflex Angle [11/30/1998]
What is a reflex angle?