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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hypotenuse
Historical Examples
  • First take out the two rectangles formed on the hypotenuse; place them in the two lateral grooves, and lower the triangle.

  • Therefore the square on the hypotenuse must equal the sum of these two squares.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • Mr. Isadore Binswanger inserted a toothpick between his lips and stretched his limbs out at a hypotenuse from the chair.

    Just Around the Corner Fannie Hurst
  • A, walking from corner to corner, may be said to diangulate the hypotenuse of the meadow.

    My Discovery of England Stephen Leacock
  • The hypotenuse of this triangle would be a right line drawn from Thapsacus to Babylon, which he estimates at 4800 stadia.

  • The square on the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equivalent to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • We see, too, that the interior figure is a square, and that it is constructed on the hypotenuse of the triangles in question.

  • If we take away the other two triangles instead, we have left the square on the hypotenuse.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • Each of the other sides is the mean proportional between the hypotenuse and the segment of the hypotenuse adjacent to that side.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • One week later he decided that he should have cupped his hands and shouted, "You hypotenuse hussy!"

    The Boy Grew Older Heywood Broun
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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