[hahy-pot-n-oos, -yoos]

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hypotenuse

Historical Examples of hypotenuse

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

    The Teaching of Geometry

    David Eugene Smith

  • A, walking from corner to corner, may be said to diangulate the hypotenuse of the meadow.

  • The area of a right triangle is 150 square feet, and its hypotenuse is 25 feet.

    A Review of Algebra

    Romeyn Henry Rivenburg

  • 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

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

    The Teaching of Geometry

    David Eugene Smith

British Dictionary definitions for hypotenuse


  1. the side in a right-angled triangle that is opposite the right angleAbbreviation: hyp

Word Origin for hypotenuse

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

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

hypotenuse in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hypotenuse in Culture


[(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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.