parameter (n.) Look up parameter at
1650s in geometry, 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 1920s when it yielded sense of "measurable factor which helps to define a particular system" (1927). Common modern meaning (influenced by perimeter) of "boundary, limit, characteristic factor" is from 1950s. Related: Parametric.