hy·​pot·​e·​nuse | \ hī-ˈpä-tə-ˌnüs How to pronounce hypotenuse (audio) , -ˌnyüz\
variants: or less commonly hypothenuse \ hī-​ˈpä-​thə-​ˌnüs How to pronounce hypothenuse (audio) , -​ˌnyüz \

Definition of hypotenuse

1 : the side of a right-angled triangle that is opposite the right angle
2 : the length of a hypotenuse

Illustration of hypotenuse

Illustration of hypotenuse

ac hypotenuse

Examples of hypotenuse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

His theorem, a part of Euclidean geometry taught in many high school math classes, states that the hypotenuse of a right triangle (the side opposite the right angle) equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Stonehenge Builders Used Pythagoras' Theorem Centuries Before His Birth, Say Experts," 21 June 2018 Plus it’s gorgeous, the liquid resting on the hypotenuse of a triangular block of ice that’s been frozen into the glass. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s Interval puts the fern bar on a cocktail menu," 20 June 2018 Those aren’t scientific concepts with formulas, like gravity or the length of a hypotenuse. Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, "Is Bitcoin the Most Obvious Bubble Ever?," 9 Dec. 2017 This car only looks like a fastback from 270 degrees, thanks to the twin hypotenuse of roof pillars. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Mazda’s MX-5 Miata RF: A Peter-Pan Car Grows Up," 12 Oct. 2017 This equation also represents a fundamental property of right triangles — that the square of the longest side, or hypotenuse, is the sum of the squares of the other two shorter sides. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Hints of Trigonometry on a 3,700-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet," 29 Aug. 2017 The new 2,700-square-foot space feels like a geometric funhouse — quadrilaterals of wood overhead, an enveloping half-circle over the open kitchen, and the hypotenuse of the bar slanting through the lounge. Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times, "Art of the Table lounge aims high — too high?," 27 Apr. 2017 The length of one side of the slice is the hypotenuse of this triangle. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Does the Slope of a Pyramid Really Matter?," 20 July 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hypotenuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hypotenuse

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hypotenuse

Latin hypotenusa, from Greek hypoteinousa, from feminine of hypoteinōn, present participle of hypoteinein to subtend, from hypo- + teinein to stretch — more at thin

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Time Traveler for hypotenuse

The first known use of hypotenuse was in 1594

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English Language Learners Definition of hypotenuse

mathematics : the long side opposite the right angle of a triangle


hy·​pot·​e·​nuse | \ hī-ˈpä-tə-ˌnüs How to pronounce hypotenuse (audio) , -ˌnyüz\

Kids Definition of hypotenuse

: the side of a right triangle that is opposite the right angle

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hypotenuse

Spanish Central: Translation of hypotenuse

Nglish: Translation of hypotenuse for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hypotenuse

What made you want to look up hypotenuse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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