Acronyms dictionary

SOHCAHTOA

or SOH-CAH-TOA or SOH CAH TOA [soh-kuh-toh-uh]

What does SOHCAHTOA mean?

SOHCAHTOA is a mnemonic device used to remember the ratios of sine, cosine, and tangent in trigonometry.

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Where does SOHCAHTOA come from?

Examples of SOHCAHTOA

I'm only just learning areas of shapes...the hells Ajacent? Hypotenuse? Sohcahtoa? They all sound like lyrics to Big Shaq's next song "Not So Quick Maths"
‏@TheyCallMeChips, March, 2018
Students will be familiar with the mnemonic SOHCAHTOA, which explains trig formulas -- sine opposite hypotenuse, cosine adjacent hypotenuse and tangent opposite adjacent -- the formulas needed to solve the side/angle relationships of right triangles.
Hope Babowice, Daily Herald, January, 2016
At age 12 she was more lonely than ever. She knew it was time to select her grown name. She decided on a name that held the secret to all of her trigon findings in its spelling. Her sincere desire was that someday she would meet a person who would hear her name and understand the code. She would only be safe with someone who was able to understand her name...She picked Soh-Cah-Toa.
S.K. Martz, The Math Lab, 2001
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Who uses SOHCAHTOA?

Many English speakers have remarked on the sound of SOHCAHTOA, comparing it to the names of Native Americans like Sacajawea. One illustration of SOHCAHTOA has featured the right triangle as a mountain and imagines SOHCAHTOA as an American Indian chief. While SOHCAHTOA can be fun to say, as is often noted of the mnemonic, these comparisons can be very insensitive and offensive.

While mostly used by teachers and students in educational contexts often in the 9th grade (ages 14–15) and paired with visual aids, SOHCAHTOA is sometimes used in internet memes, mocking the perceived uselessness of trigonometry in adult life. Other memes use the phrase as the subject of an academic or “nerd” joke, often making trigonometry puns using the images of real and fictional characters in popular culture.

Some alternative or embellished SOHCAHTOA mnemonics include Tommy On A Ship Of His Caught A Herring (perhaps better known in the UK), Studying Our Homework Can Always Help To Obtain Achievement, and Some Old Hippy Caught Another Hippy Tripping On Acid.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of SOHCAHTOA like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of SOHCAHTOA that will help our users expand their word mastery.