The hypotenuse is the longest side of any right triangle; the line opposite of the right angle. The hypotenuse is longer than the distance of either of the two sides but smaller than the sum of those two sides, as demonstrated by this catchy little equation:

A² + B² = C²

where C is the hypotenuse and A & B are the other sides.
(the variables are squared, not multiplied by 2.)

As a 24 year old artist who hasn't been in a math class in something like 10 years, I am not one to go around quoting, let alone noding mathematical equations.

However, I am an avid driver in Chicago, a city whose streets are laid out in a huge grid with a few diagonals thrown in here and there.

I am often known to quote the phrase, "the hypotenuse of a right triangle is always a shorter distance than that of the two sides" when giving directions to out-of-towners because they have trouble understanding how helpful these slanted streets can be.

Hy*pot"e*nuse (?), Hy*poth"e*nuse (?), n. [L. hypotenusa, Gr. , prob., subtending (sc. ), fr. to stretch under, subtend; under + to stretch. See Subtend.] Geom.

The side of a right-angled triangle that is opposite to the right angle.

© Webster 1913.

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