From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
In mathematics, abscissa (plural abscissae or abscissæ or abscissas) most often refers to the horizontal coordinate of a point in a two-dimensional rectangular Cartesian coordinate system. The term can also refer to the horizontal axis (typically x-axis) of a two-dimensional graph (because that axis is used to define and measure the horizontal coordinates of points in the space). An ordered pair consists of two terms—the abscissa (horizontal, usually x) and the ordinate (vertical, usually y)—which define the location of a point in two-dimensional rectangular space.
In a somewhat obsolete variant usage, the abscissa of a point may also refer to any number that describes the point's location along some path, e.g. the parameter of a parametric equation. Used in this way, the abscissa can be thought of as a coordinate-geometry analog to the independent variable in a mathematical model or experiment (with any ordinates filling a role analogous to dependent variables).