In mathematics, a parabola ( /pəˈræbələ/; plural parabolae or parabolas, from the Greek παραβολή) is a conic section, created from the intersection of a right circular conical surface and a plane parallel to a generating straight line of that surface. Another way to generate a parabola is to examine a point (the focus) and a line (the directrix). The locus of points in that plane that are equidistant from both the line and point is a parabola.The line perpendicular to the directrix and passing through the focus (that is, the line that splits the parabola through the middle) is called the "axis of symmetry". The point on the axis of symmetry that intersects the parabola is called the "vertex", and it is the point where the curvature is greatest. Parabolas can open up, down, left, right, or in some other arbitrary direction. Any parabola can be repositioned and rescaled to fit exactly on any other parabola that is, all parabolas are similar.The parabola has many important applications, from automobile headlight reflectors to the design of ballistic missiles. They are frequently used in physics, engineering, and many other areas.