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[hahy-pot-n-oos, -yoos] /haɪˈpɒt nˌus, -ˌyus/
noun, Geometry
the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle.
Also, hypothenuse.
Origin of hypotenuse
1565-75; earlier hypotenusa < Latin hypotēnūsa < Greek hypoteínousa (grámmē) subtending (line) (feminine present participle of hypoteínein to subtend), equivalent to hypo- hypo- + tein- stretch (see thin) + -ousa feminine present participle suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hypotenuse
  • The hypotenuse of a right triangle is not always the shortest distance between the two points that define it.
  • The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
  • Find the areas of the squares on the legs and on the hypotenuse.
  • Ask a participant to construct a square on each leg and then on the hypotenuse of the triangle.
  • The hypotenuse is the longest side of a right triangle.
  • Students were shown a right triangle with a given length of the base and size of the angle between the base and the hypotenuse.
  • Remember that a and b are the legs of the right triangle and c is the hypotenuse.
  • The sighting distances were calculated from the hypotenuse angles post-flight.
British Dictionary definitions for hypotenuse


the side in a right-angled triangle that is opposite the right angle hyp
Word Origin
C16: from Latin hypotēnūsa, from Greek hupoteinousa grammē subtending line, from hupoteinein to subtend, from hypo- + teinein to stretch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hypotenuse

1570s, from Late Latin hypotenusa, from Greek hypoteinousa "stretching under" (the right angle), fem. present participle of hypoteinein, from hypo- "under" (see sub-) + teinein "to stretch" (see tenet). Formerly often erroneously hypothenuse.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hypotenuse in Science
The side of a right triangle opposite the right angle. It is the longest side, and the square of its length is equal to the sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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hypotenuse in Culture
hypotenuse [(heye-pot-n-oohs, heye-pot-n-yoohs)]

In a right triangle (a triangle that has one right angle), the side opposite the right angle. (See Pythagorean theorem.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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hypotenuse in Technology

The side of a right-angled triangle opposite the right angle.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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