One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The longest side of a right-angled triangle, opposite the right angle.
- ‘In case you have forgotten your high school geometry, the hypotenuse is the side opposite the right angle.’
- ‘The square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the legs.’
- ‘In fact it is the length of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle which had sides of length one.’
- ‘Can we have any other Pythagorean triangles with a Fibonacci number as the hypotenuse (the longest side)?’
- ‘He sees the hypotenuse of a right triangle made by the deck, the mast and the front edge of the beam moving down to the deck.’
Late 16th century: via Latin hypotenusa from Greek hupoteinousa (grammē) ‘subtending (line)’, from the verb hupoteinein (from hupo ‘under’ + teinein ‘stretch’).
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