n-gons - polygons with any number of sides

By Martin McBride, 2022-11-11
Tags: n-gon
Categories: gcse geometry

Most people recognise the names triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon, and octagon.

In GCSE we learn the names of polygons with up to 12 sides.

Beyond that, the names are less well-known. Few people know the mathematical name for a 23-sided shape, for example (it's an icositrigon).

To avoid this difficulty, we can name any n-sided polygon as an n-gon. For example, a 23-sided polygon is called a 23-gon.

This is an alternative name so:

  • A 3-sided shape can either be called a triangle or a 3-gon.
  • A 4-sided shape can either be called a quadrilateral or a 4-gon.
  • And so on...

We would normally call a triangle a triangle, it would be a little odd to call it a 3-gon. But for shapes with more than 12 sides, this way of naming them is very useful.

See also

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