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.
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.