Etymology
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parameter (n.)

1650s in geometry, in reference to conic sections, from Modern Latin parameter (1630s), from Greek para- "beside, subsidiary" (see para- (1)) + metron "measure" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure").

A geometry term until late 1920s when it began to be extended to "measurable factor which helps to define a particular system," hence the common meaning (influenced by perimeter) of "boundary, limit, characteristic factor," common from 1950s. Related: Parametric; parametrical.

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Definitions of parameter

parameter (n.)
a constant in the equation of a curve that can be varied to yield a family of similar curves;
Synonyms: parametric quantity
parameter (n.)
any factor that defines a system and determines (or limits) its performance;
parameter (n.)
(computer science) a reference or value that is passed to a function, procedure, subroutine, command, or program;
Synonyms: argument
parameter (n.)
a quantity (such as the mean or variance) that characterizes a statistical population and that can be estimated by calculations from sample data;
From wordnet.princeton.edu