# 11 Basic Trigonometry Terms You Should Know

02/08/2017
Trigonometry (the study of the relationship between the angles and sides in a triangle), is a mathematical branch that has had a direct impact on how we understand our world and certain phenomenon that exist in it (be it in science or in everyday life). For example, it has contributed to geography, astronomy, oceanography, engineering, physics, and even architecture and digital imaging. As you can imagine, it is a fascinating subject to learn, and one that can help you gain a new perspective on the things around you. What's even more valuable is that learning trigonometry will allow you to develop your problem-solving skills and strengthen your mathematical thinking. For that reason, if you're a student who will be taking trigonometry in the near future, you should refer to the post below. Through it, you'll be introduced to some basic trigonometry terms so that you can begin this exciting learning process the right away. ## Angle

Angles are incredibly important in trigonometry. They are commonly referred to as a measure of rotation, but they can also be defined as the amount of space available between two lines that intersect. Plane angles are measured in degrees.

## Trigonometric Function

The trigonometric functions are the basis of trigonometry. In short, they express the ratio between the catheti, the hypotenuse, and the angles of a right-angled triangle. There are six trigonometric functions (to learn more about each one, continue reading this glossary): sine, secant, cosine, cosecant, tangent, and cotangent. There are also inverse trigonometric functions which invert the outputs of a trigonometric function to make them into inputs on another function. Arcsine, arccosine, and arctangent are known inverse functions.

## Hypotenuse

If you are studying right-angled triangles, you need to know what the hypotenuse is. In simple terms, it is the longest side of a triangle, and you'll always be able to find it directly in front of the right angle in the triangle.

## Cathetus

If you're familiar with basic geometry, you know that every triangle has three sides. As explained above, the hypotenuse is the longest of these sides. The other two sides of the right-angled triangle are known as the catheti (singular: cathetus). Each cathetus, or side, can also be differentiated, however. When you're talking about an adjacent cathetus, you refer to the side that, along with the hypotenuse, forms the angle you're interested in measuring. The opposite cathetus, as its name states, is opposite to that angle (i.e. it's directly in front of it).

## Vector

In a frame of reference, the vector is a mathematical structure that has both direction and magnitude.

## Period

Trigonometrically speaking, a period is the length of an interval in which the smallest value in a periodic function repeats itself. Tied to that point, the periodic function is a function that sees its values repeat once each period. If you think you could benefit from expert assistance in your journey to learning AP Math, turn to The Tutoring Center, Sammamish WA. They offer a program specifically designed to help you understand high-level math, so you can be completely ready to fulfill any academic goal you may have. Call 425-202-7306 to enroll in tutoring classes in Sammamish WA, or to request a free diagnostic assessment.

## Asymptotes

When you have a line representing undefined values in a trigonometric function, you have an asymptote.

## Trigonometric Identity

A trigonometric identity can be defined as an equation that is made up of trigonometric functions, and that proves true for every value of an angle.

## Sine

When you're dealing with a right-angled triangle, the sine represents the ratio of the hypotenuse and the opposite cathetus (or side). You'll find that sine is commonly abbreviated to sin or sen. The sine has a reciprocal or complementary trigonometric function, known as the cosecant. This term is often shortened to scs or cosec.

## Cosine

In the cosine's case, you're referring to the ratio between the adjacent cathetus and the hypotenuse (again, in a right triangle). Its abbreviation is cos. The reciprocal trigonometric function of the cosine, is the secant, which is often shortened to sec.

## Tangent

Lastly, the tangent represents the ratio between both catheti or sides in a right triangle. It is commonly abbreviated to tan or tg. Its reciprocal function is the cotangent (which is often shortened to cot, cta, or cotg).

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