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What Is a Trapezoid? (Mathematics Lesson)

What Is a Trapezoid

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

Parts of a Trapezoid

  • The parallel sides of a trapezoid are called bases.


  • The other sides of a trapezoid are called legs or lateral sides.

Properties of Trapezoids

  • Only one pair of sides of a trapezoid is parallel.



    The other pair of sides is not parallel.

  • The Area of a Trapezoid

    The area of a trapezoid is given by the formula:



    where b1 and b2 are the lengths of the bases of the trapezoid and h is the height of the trapezoid.

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Note
TRAPEZOID, TRAPEZIUM

The shape is called a trapezoid in North America.

In English speaking countries outside North America, a trapezoid is called a trapezium.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Trapezoid and trapezium come from the Greek word 'trapezion' meaning 'little table'.

A TRAPEZOID IS A POLYGON

A trapezoid is a type of polygon.

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

A trapezoid is an irregular polygon. Irregular polygons have different length sides and different angles.

A TRAPEZOID IS A QUADRILATERAL

A trapezoid is a quadrilateral.

A trapezoid is a four-sided polygon.

Parallelograms, rectangles and squares are also quadrilaterals.