Subject: geometry

Name: Autumn

Who is asking: Student
Level: Middle

Question: explain where the term isoscles and scalene came from?

Hi Autumn,

ISOSCELES means equal legs (isos = equal, skelos = leg, both Greek words). The two equal sides of an isosceles triangle are thought of as the "legs" of the triangle, while the unequal side is its "base". Euclid uses the word to refer to a triangle that has exactly two equal legs.

Compare this with EQUILATERAL (meaning equal sides, where aequus and latus are both Latin words). Euclid uses the Greek version of this word to refer to a trangle that has all its sides equal.

SCALENE comes from the Greek skalenos meaning uneven or unequal. It refers to a triangle that has its three sides unequal.

Both isosceles and scalene are essentially the words that Euclid used (300 BC); equilateral is the Latin translation of Euclid's word.

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