Is Kite the True Name?
Date: 03/29/2002 at 15:53:00 From: Beecky Subject: Shape name I did a kite unit with my class 2 years ago, and I thought at that time I found a different "math" name for the KITE shape. I have looked in all the books I can find, and searched the Internet hoping to find the site that I remembered, as well as asking all the math teachers I know, but to no avail. Is KITE the true math name for this shape, or is there another? Thanks.
Date: 03/29/2002 at 17:01:24 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Shape name Hi, Beecky. I am not familiar with any other name, though it seems to beg for one, since we English speakers don't feel comfortable having plain, easily pronounced English names for our geometrical objects! However, searching for such a name I found this in Pat Ballew's "Math Words, and Some Other Words of Interest": http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/1861/arithme5.html#kite In a recent discussion group, John Conway responded to the question "Is there a name (other than "kite") for a quadrilateral that looks like a kite -- with no parallel sides, but with two pairs of equal sides?" His response was to describe a suggestion for a new word, Strombus. Here is the message in Mr Conway's own words. I was trying to coin an acceptable word for this for a long time, without success until after being prompted by some considerable discussion on the net about a year ago, I eventually came up with "Strombus", which is derived from the Greek word for a spinning top. I think it's the best of the terms that were suggested. It's interesting that the word "rhombus" is ultimately derived from the same source, a fact that lends the new term some respectability. John Conway I also found this note discussing the opposite problem: the fact that "kite" is not always defined the same way. (This site uses its own non-standard definition!): Kites - John C. Pierce http://www.math.nmsu.edu/breakingaway/Lessons/kites/kites.html [Note to the reader: In this unit we call all quadrilaterals kites. This is not the standard definition of a kite. Usually a kite is described as a special kind of quadrilateral, but the exact definitions often vary. The most general definition that is typically used: A kite is a quadrilateral in which one of its diagonals is its axis of symmetry. This definition is equivalent to the following one: A kite is a quadrilateral that has two pairs of equal adjacent sides. These two definitions include rhombuses and non-convex quadrilaterals. Other definitions of kites are narrower. Sometimes only convex quadrilaterals are called kites and non-convex ones are called arrowheads. Sometimes rhombuses are excluded by the additional condition that not all sides are of equal length.] All in all, I would continue to use the word kite as defined in Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics (with no alternative name listed): Kite http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Kite.html A planar convex quadrilateral consisting of two adjacent sides of length a and the other two sides of length b. But I myself don't usually require kites to be convex, simply because we have no other word to describe both convex and non-convex shapes of this sort. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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