From Academic Kids

Other uses: Quadrilateral (disambiguation)

In geometry, a quadrilateral is a polygon with four sides and four vertices.



Quadrilaterals are either simple (not self-intersecting) or complex (self-intersecting). Simple quadrilaterals are either convex or concave. Convex quadrilaterals are further classified as follows:

  • Trapezium (American English): no sides are parallel.
  • Trapezium (British English) or trapezoid (Amer.): one pair of opposite sides is parallel.
  • Isosceles trapezium (Brit.) or isosceles trapezoid (Amer.): two of the opposite sides are parallel, the two other sides are equal, and the two ends of each parallel side have equal angles. This implies that the diagonals have equal length.
  • Parallelogram: both pairs of opposite sides are parallel. This implies that opposite sides have equal length, opposite angles are equal, and the diagonals bisect each other.
  • Kite: two adjacent sides have equal length, the other two sides have equal length. This implies that one set of opposite angles is equal, and that one diagonal perpendicularly bisects the other.
  • Rhombus: four sides have equal length. This implies that opposite sides are parallel, opposite angles are equal, and the diagonals perpendicularly bisect each other.
  • Rectangle: each angle is a right angle. This implies that opposite sides are parallel and have equal length, and the diagonals bisect each other and have equal length.
  • Square (regular quadrilateral): four sides have equal length, and each angle is a right angle. This implies that opposite sides are parallel, and that the diagonals perpendicularly bisect each other and are of equal length.

Missing image

Is a square a rectangle?

Some people define categories exclusively, so that a rectangle is a quadrilateral with four right angles that is not a square. This is appropriate for everyday use of the words, as people typically use the less specific word only when the more specific word will not do.

But in mathematics, it is important to define categories inclusively, so that a square is a rectangle. Inclusive categories make statements of theorems shorter, by eliminating the need for tedious listing of cases. For example, the visual proof that vector addition is commutative is known as the "parallelogram diagram". If categories were exclusive it would have to be known as the "parallelogram (or rectangle or rhombus or square) diagram"!

Taxonomic classification

The taxonomic classification of quadrilaterals is illustrated by the following graph. Lower forms are special cases of higher forms.

Missing image
Taxonomy of quadrilaterals. Lower forms are special cases of higher forms.

External links

  • Varignon and Wittenbauer Parallelograms (http://agutie.homestead.com/files/VarigWitten.htm) by Antonio Gutierrez from "Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas"--Agutie 21:18, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Van Aubel's theorem (http://agutie.homestead.com/files/vanaubel.html) Quadrilateral with four squares by Antonio Gutierrez from "Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas"
  • Parallelogram with five squares (http://agutie.homestead.com/files/parallelogram_squares.htm) by Antonio Gutierrez from "Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas"

Template:Polygonsde:Viereck es:Cuadriltero fr:Quadrilatre io:Quadrilatero it:Quadrilatero nl:Vierhoek ja:四角形 pl:Czworokąt pt:Quadriltero ru:Четырёхугольник th:รูปสี่เหลี่ยม zh:四邊形


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