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Mathematical discipline dealing with the relationships between the sides and angles of triangles. Literally, it means triangle measurement, though its applications extend far beyond geometry. It emerged as a rigorous discipline in the 15th century, when the demand for accurate surveying techniques and navigational methods led to its use for the solution of right triangles, or the calculation of the lengths of two sides of a right triangle given one of its acute angles and the length of one side. The solution can be found by using ratios in the form of the trigonometric functions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on trigonometry, visit Britannica.com.