What does abscissa mean?

The definition of abscissa

Ab*scis”sa, n.; E. pl. Abscissas, L. pl. AbscissÃ¦.

Etym: [L., fem. of abscissus, p. p. of absindere to cut of. See Abscind.] (Geom.)

One of the elements of reference by which a point, as of a curve, is referred to a system of fixed rectilineal coÃ¶rdinate axes.

Note: When referred to two intersecting axes, one of them called the axis of abscissas, or of X, and the other 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 common intersection, the abscissa may be the distance measured parallel to either of them, from the point to the plane of the other two axes. Abscissas and ordinates taken together are called coÃ¶rdinates.

— 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.