Definition of tangram in US English:



  • A Chinese geometric puzzle consisting of a square cut into seven pieces that can be arranged to make various other shapes.

    • ‘Of indeterminate age - at least 150 but maybe much older, say, dating back to Pythagoras and his right triangles - the 7 tangram pieces (credited by some sources to the Chinese) can form countless different designs.’
    • ‘Some mornings I'll put the tangram sets on the table with a puzzle for each child to solve.’
    • ‘Tangrams consist of two small triangles, one medium triangle (the size of two small ones joined), a parallelogram and square (also equal to two small triangles), and two large triangles, equal to four small ones.’
    • ‘Designing this stuff is a little like making a tangram.’
    • ‘It is interesting however to see how many convex figures you can make from the 7 tangram pieces.’


Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.