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According to Dictionary.com, the word "quadratic" is derived from the Latin word "quadratus" and means "square." In math, a quadratic refers to a polynomial where the highest degree of the term is two, which means the largest term in the polynomial is squared or raised to the second power.

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One well-known application of quadratics is the quadratic formula. It is used to determine the roots of a quadratic equation. The roots can be thought of as the places where the quadratic equation equals zero and can be either real or complex numbers.

When graphed on a coordinate plane, a quadratic will take the shape of a parabola.

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Babylonian mathematicians as early as the Sumerian Ur III period (21st to 20th century B.C.) used geometric methods to solve second-degree problems. Similar geometric methods solved quadratic equations in later Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, China, and India. Indian mathematician Brahmagupta (597-668 C.E.) was the first to give an explicit solution.

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Although there is not a single known inventor of the quadratic formula, its use dates back to the Middle Kingdom in Egypt. Greek mathematicians, such as Euclid and Diophantus also used early versions of the quadratic formula.

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To solve quadratic equations by factoring, it's a matter of finding the x-intercepts of the graph, or the point at which the graph crosses the x-axis. Quadratics are in the form of ax^2 + bx + c = 0, so you have to simplify the equation into simple binomials.