hypotenuse n : the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle
- The side of a right triangle opposite the right angle.
The side of a right triangle opposite the right angle
A hypotenuse is the longest side of a right triangle, the side opposite of the right angle. The length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle can be found using the Pythagorean theorem, which states that the square of the length of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the lengths of the two other sides. One method some teachers use to help kids remember 'hypotenuse': When you are in an airplane, and you have to go to the bathroom, you are using a High Pot, In Use.
For example, if one of the other sides has a length of 3 meters (when squared, 9 m²) and the other has a length of 4 m (when squared, 16 m²). Their squares add up to 25 m². The length of the hypotenuse is the square root of this, or 5 m.
The word hypotenuse derives, according to some sources, from the Greek ὑποτείνουσα (hypoteinousa), a combination of hypo- ("under") and teinein ("to stretch") . Others suggest the original meaning in Ancient Greek was for a thing which supports something in the manner of a prop or butress dervived from a combination of hypo- ("under") and tenuse ("side").