Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


A trapezoid (American English) or trapezium (British English) is a quadrilateral two of whose sides are parallel to each other. (It is necessary that the two parallel sides be opposite; they cannot logically be adjacent....)

If the other pair of opposite sides is also parallel, then the trapezoid is a parallelogram. Otherwise, the other two opposite sides may be extended until they meet at a point, forming a triangle that the trapezoid lies inside of.

A quadrilateral is a trapezoid if and only if it contains two adjacent angles that add up to one straight angle, i.e., to 180 degrees or π radians.

The area of a trapezoid can be computed as the product of the distance of the two parallel sides and the average (arithmetic mean) of the other two sides. This yields the well-known formula for the area of a triangle, were one to consider a triangle as a degenerate trapezoid in which one of the parallel sides has shrunk to a point.

Note that a trapezium (American English) or trapezoid (British English) does not have two parallel sides.

In acrobatics, the trapeze is a certain acrobatic device that is shaped like a trapezoid.

In anatomy, the trapezoid bone is a certain bone in the hand.