What is a Triangle?
A triangle is a polygon with three edges and three vertices. It is one of the basic shapes in geometry. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted
In Euclidean geometry any three points, when non-collinear, determine a unique triangle and a unique plane (i.e. a two-dimensional Euclidean space). This article is about triangles in Euclidean geometry except where otherwise noted.
By lengths of sides
Triangles can be classified according to the lengths of their sides:
- An equilateral triangle has all sides the same length. An equilateral triangle is also a regular polygon with all angles measuring 60°.
- An isosceles triangle has two sides of equal length.[note 1]An isosceles triangle also has two angles of the same measure; namely, the angles opposite to the two sides of the same length; this fact is the content of the isosceles triangle theorem, which was known by Euclid. Some mathematicians define an isosceles triangle to have exactly two equal sides, whereas others define an isosceles triangle as one with at least two equal sides. The latter definition would make all equilateral triangles isosceles triangles. The 45–45–90 right triangle, which appears in the tetrakis square tiling, is isosceles.
- A scalene triangle has all its sides of different lengths. Equivalently, it has all angles of different measure. A right triangle is also a scalene triangle if and only if it is not isosceles.
Triangles are assumed to be two-dimensional plane figures, unless the context provides otherwise (see Non-planar triangles, below). In rigorous treatments, a triangle is therefore called a 2-simplex (see also Polytope). Elementary facts about triangles were presented by Euclid in books 1–4 of his Elements, around 300 BC.
The sum of the measures of the interior angles of a triangle in Euclidean space is always 180 degrees. This fact is equivalent to Euclid's parallel postulate. This allows determination of the measure of the third angle of any triangle given the measure of two angles. An exterior angle of a triangle is an angle that is a linear pair (and hence supplementary) to an interior angle. The measure of an exterior angle of a triangle is equal to the sum of the measures of the two interior angles that are not adjacent to it; this is the exterior angle theorem. The sum of the measures of the three exterior angles (one for each vertex) of any triangle is 360 degrees.