hypotenuse

noun
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 The triangle has a base 4 units long, a vertical side 3 units long and a hypotenuse 5 units long going from upper left to lower right. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Natural Law and Elegant Math’," 17 Jan. 2020 The triangle has a base 4 units long, a vertical side 3 units long and a hypotenuse 5 units long going from upper left to lower right. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Natural Law and Elegant Math’," 17 Jan. 2020 More Math All of these points will follow the same Pythagorean formula, where the height of the rung is the hypotenuse. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Oxford Asks Applicants to Solve This Ladder Problem. Can You Figure It Out?," 11 Mar. 2020 The triangle has a base 4 units long, a vertical side 3 units long and a hypotenuse 5 units long going from upper left to lower right. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Natural Law and Elegant Math’," 17 Jan. 2020 The triangle has a base 4 units long, a vertical side 3 units long and a hypotenuse 5 units long going from upper left to lower right. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Natural Law and Elegant Math’," 17 Jan. 2020 The man addressed me over the cliff of his shoulder—talked down to me in the same condescending way Mister Hughes explained polynomials and hypotenuses. Douglas Stuart, The New Yorker, "Found Wanting," 6 Jan. 2020 The triangle has a base 4 units long, a vertical side 3 units long and a hypotenuse 5 units long going from upper left to lower right. Quanta Magazine, "Does Natural Law Need Elegant Mathematics?," 5 Dec. 2019 If the two legs of a right triangle each have the same rational length, Hippasus is said to have shown, its hypotenuse cannot have a rational length. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Shed Light on Minimalist Conjecture," 9 July 2013

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

earlier hypothenusa, hypothenuse, borrowed from Latin hypotēnūsa, borrowed from Greek hypoteínousa, noun derivative (with grammḗ "line" or pleurá "side" understood) from feminine of hypoteínōn, present participle of hypoteínein "to stretch under, put under, subtend," from hypo- hypo- + teínein "to stretch, extend" — more at tenant entry 1

Note: The nominal use of hypoteínousa in Greek is apparent in passages such as the following, from the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus of Naucratis (10.13), where "line/lines" or "side/sides" are understood: "Apollódōros dè ho arithmētikòs kaì thûsaí phēsin autòn hekatómbēn epì tôi eurēkenai hóti trigṓnou orthogōníou [he] tḕn orthḕn gōnían hypoteínousa íson dýnatai taîs periechoúsais…." ("And Apollodorus the Calculator says that he [Pythagoras] even sacrificed a hecatomb when he discovered that in a right-angled triangle the [square of the] line subtending ("hypoteínousa") the right angle is equal to [the square of] the lines embracing it.)"

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The first known use of hypotenuse was in 1594

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Cite this Entry

“Hypotenuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypotenuse. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for hypotenuse

hypotenuse

noun
How to pronounce hypotenuse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hypotenuse

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

hypotenuse

noun
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

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