Origin, Meaning of 'Hypotenuse'Date: 9/13/96 at 9:11:11 From: Chipper Subject: Origin, Meaning of 'Hypotenuse' Dr. Math, I was wondering if you could please tell me the meaning and origin of the word "hypotenuse." I know it is a Greek word and somewere in high school I was told it means "hippo." Can you confirm this? Thank you for your time Harry A. Mac Alpine III Date: 9/13/96 at 13:25:24 From: Doctor Tom Subject: Re: Origin, Meaning of 'Hypotenuse' It's usually easy to answer questions like this with an English dictionary. The hypotenuse is the side opposite the right angle in a triangle containing a right angle. My dictionary says that the word is Greek and probably comes from "hypo", meaning "under" + "teinein", meaning "to stretch". Hence, it sort of means "under tension". Think of it representing a wire stretched between the ends of a triangle maybe. -Doctor Tom, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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