# What would qualify as a deceleration rather than an acceleration if speed is unchanged?

Acceleration is the general term for a changing velocity. Deceleration is a kind of acceleration in which the magnitude of the velocity is decreasing. The reason this might be confusing is because the word 'acceleration' is sometimes used to mean that the magnitude of the velocity is increasing, to contrast it with deceleration. One cannot go wrong, however, if one always takes acceleration to mean simply 'changing velocity'. In that case, circular motion corresponds to acceleration (because the velocity is changing) but not deceleration (because its magnitude is not decreasing).

Acceleration is the correct technical term for the physical quantity you mentioned in the equations you posted (i.e. a).

The term deceleration doesn't describe a rigorously-defined standard physical quantity, it's just a term used differently in different situations that means "handwavily" that the velocity or speed is decreasing.

Sometimes it could be clear that it refers to some precise quantity (e.g. the absolute value of a scalar acceleration along a curve, like when you are driving a car and keep an eye on the odometer), but without further context it has no rigorous meaning.