# What Is Geometry?

Geometry is a branch mathematics that studies shapes and their properties.

#### Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines geometry as "the branch of mathematics concerned with the properties and relations of points, lines, surfaces, and solids."
Here are some examples of common shapes. We might be interested in finding the angle in a triangle, the area of a circle or the volume of a cone. Geometry allows us to do this.

# Where Does the Word Geometry Come From?

Geometry comes from combining the Greek words 'ge' ("earth") and 'metria' ("measurement").

Geometry means measuring the earth or land. This is because initially geometry would have been used practically to measure areas of fields and the lengths of roads.

# Euclid and Geometry

Euclid was an ancient Greek mathematician, famous for his work in geometry.

His book of geometry, Elements, is one of the most widely read books of all time and has earned Euclid the nickname the Father of Geometry.

Euclid has had many great fans.

Abraham Lincoln kept a copy of Euclid in his saddlebag and would read it late at night by lamplight to aid his career as a lawyer:

"You never can make a lawyer if you do not understand what demonstrate means; and I left my situation in Springfield, went home to my father's house and stayed there till I could give any proposition in the six books of Euclid at sight".

Albert Einstein received a copy when he was a boy and claimed it had a great influence on him. He called Elements the "holy little geometry book".

# Shapes

• A circle is a shape containing a set of points that are all the same distance from a given point, its center.

• An ellipse is a shape containing a set of points whose distance from a two fixed points, the foci, add up to a constant.

An ellipse looks like a flattened circle.

• A parallelogram is a four sided shape with opposite sides parallel.

• A rectangle is a four sided shape with four right angles.

• A square is a four sided shape with four equal sides and four right angles.

• A trapezoid is a four sided shape with one pair of opposite parallel sides.

• A triangle is a shape with three sides and three angles.

# Angles

An angle is created by two rays that have a common end point, called the vertex. The angle is also a measure of the rotation between the two rays.

Angles can be measured in degrees (°) or in radians.

There are different types of angles:

Two angles can be classified as complementary, supplementary or explementary depending on whether they add to 90°, 180° or 360°.

# Areas

Area is the space contained within a 2-dimensional shape.

Read more about the area of a circle using the diameter ( interactive widget)

# Volumes

Volume is the space contained within a 3-dimensional shape.

# Circles (Basics)

• The center is the point the same distance from the points on the circle.

• The radius is the line segment from the center of the circle to any point on the circle.

• The diameter is the line segment that contains the centre of the circle and has its endpoints on the circle.

The radius can be found in terms of the diameter, circumference and area.

The diameter can be found in terms of the diameter, circumference and area.

• A chord is a line whose endpoints lie on the circle.

• The circumference is the distance around the circle.

The circumference of a circle with radius r and diameter d is:

• An arc is a portion of the circumference.

• A sector is a region bounded by two radii and the arc lying between the radii.

• A segment is a region, not containing the center, bounded by a chord and an arc lying between the chord's endpoints.

• A tangent is a line that touches the circle at one point.

# Triangles

There are different types of triangles.

Triangles can be classified by how many sides and angles are equal:

Triangles can be classified by their angles:

• Acute triangles have all acute angles (less than 90°).

• Obtuse triangles have one angle that is obtuse (more than 90°, less than 180°).

• Right triangles have one right angle (90°).

The interior angles of a triangle add up to 180°. This means a missing angle can be found if two are known.

# Polygons

A polygon is a 2-dimensional shape with straight sides.

• A 3 sided polygon is a triangle.

• A 4 sided polygon is a quadrilateral.

• A 5 sided polygon is a pentagon.

• A 6 sided polygon is a hexagon.

• A 7 sided polygon is a hexagon.

• An 8 sided polygon is an octagon.

• A 9 sided polygon is a nonagon.

• A 10 sided polygon is a decagon.

• A 12 sided polygon is a dodecagon.

Polygons have interior angles. The sum of the interior angles of a polygon with n sides is:

A regular polygon has equal side lengths and angles. Each interior angle in a regular polygon is:

Polygons have exterior angles which add up to 180°. Each exterior angle of a regular polygon is:

An interior and exterior angle of a polygon will add to 180°.

Read more about finding the sum of the interior angles of a polygon
Read more about the sum of the interior and exterior angle of a polygon

A circle of radius r centered at the origin has an equation:

A circle of radius r centered at (a, b) has an equation:

There are many circle theorems which relate to lines and angles in a circle.

The area of a sector of a circle is:

The length of an arc is: