Types of Triangles

6 min read
Types of Triangles

We are going to be talking about triangles. Triangles are a two dimensional shape with three sides and three angles. These sides may be different lengths and the angles may be different measures. If you and a friend were to each draw a triangle, they may not be the same!

types of triangles

There would be some features that are the same. Both of the triangles would have three sides and three angles. If you and your friend were to measure the angles and add them together, they would both equal 180°!

👉🏻 The sum of the interior angles of a triangle is equal to 180°
👉🏻  An equilateral triangle has three angles that are each 60°

Types of Triangles

Triangles can be classified, or named by either their sides or their angles. We will start with classifying triangles by their sides. Classifying by sides is really naming the triangles by their side lengths.

With each of the descriptions are diagrams. Take note of the marks and notations on them. The number of tick marks are helpful to indicate congruent lengths.

Boost your score types of triangles

Types of Triangles Based on Sides

Equilateral Triangle

If all of the sides have the same length, this is known as an Equilateral Triangle. “Equi” means equal, and “lateral” means sides. Although it describes the angle measures, an equilateral triangle can also be called an equiangular triangle since all of the angles are the same measures, but that is a lesson for a different time.

These two triangles are both equilateral. One you can see by the labels of the side lengths. The second triangle shows only tick marks on the sides. Notice that each side has one tick mark.

This indicates that each of the side lengths is congruent, or have the same length.

different types of triangles

Isosceles triangle

The next triangle type of triangle is called an isosceles triangle. These triangles have two sides that have the same length. These two sides are referred to as “legs”.

The third side, which has a different length, is known as the base. These triangles also have two angles that have the same measure.

7 types of triangles

Scalene triangle

The last triangle that is classified by the side lengths is called a scalene triangle. A scalene triangle is a triangle where no sides have the same length.

Once more take notice of the tick marks on each of the sides. None of the sides have the same number of ticks. No sides are congruent.

triangle with no equal sides

Types of Triangles Based on Angles

Now that we have classified triangles by their sides, now we can take a look at their angles. There are three different types of angles that we are going to use to classify triangles, acute, right, and obtuse.

Acute triangle

The first angle is an acute angle. An acute angle is an angle that is between 0° and 90°. When a triangle only has angles that are less than 90°, it is known as an acute triangle. 

👉🏻 The hypotenuse is the side opposite the right angle of a triangle.
👉🏻 A triangle must have at least two acute angles

It does not matter if the angles are the same or different for classifying the triangle as an acute triangle. You may start to notice a pattern when there are congruent angles, there are congruent sides.

3 types of triangles

Right Triangle

The second angle is a right angle. A right angle is an angle that has a measure of 90°. When a triangle has an angle measure of 90° it is known as a right triangle.

The right angle in a diagram may be noted by what looks like a box in the corner. This is a symbol that indicates 90° or a right angle.  

kinds of triangle

A triangle can only have one right angle. Since the sum of the angles of the triangle is equal to 180°, two right angles would already hit that sum and can no longer create a triangle.

classifying triangles

When a triangle has a measure of 90° the other two angles must be acute. If you only need to classify a triangle by the angle measures, once you know one angle is 90° you do not need to worry about the other two angles.

Right angles are used with many other theorems and equations in math and more information may be needed at that point.

Boost your score types of triangles2

Obtuse Triangle

The last angle, and the last type of triangle, is the obtuse angle. An obtuse angle has a measure between 90° and 180°. If a triangle has an angle that is obtuse, then it is classified as an obtuse triangle. Similar to right triangles, there can only be one obtuse angle in a triangle.

all types of triangles

Types of Triangles Based on Side and Angles

These two ways of classifying triangles can overlap. Just like people may have two names, a first name and the last name, triangles may have two names as well! Let’s look at a few different examples.

different kinds of triangles

For this example, we will start by looking at the sides. Notice that two of the sides are the same length, indicated by the two tick marks. This means that it is an isosceles triangle.

👉🏻 There is an arrangement of numbers known as Pascal’s Triangle.
👉🏻 Pythagorean Theorem relates the sum of the squares of the legs to the square of the hypotenuse

Now if we look at the angles we can see that one of the angles has a measure of 90°. This is indicated by the square in the corner. This triangle is also a right triangle! A more precise name for this triangle is an isosceles right triangle!

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