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G E O M E TRY.
EXPLANATION OF TERMS AND SIGNS.
1. Geometry is a science which has for its object the measurement of mag
nitudes. Magnitudes may be considered under three dimensions,-length, breadth,
height or thickness. 2. In Geometry there are several general terms or principles; such as,
Definitions, Propositions, Axioms, Theorems, Problems, Lemmas, Scho
liums, Corollaries, &c. 3. A Definition is the explication of any term or word in a science, show
ing the sense and meaning in which the term is employed. Every definition ought to be clear, and expressed in words that are
common and perfectly well understood. 4. An Axiom, or Maxim, is a self-evident proposition, requiring no forinal
demonstration to prove the truth of it; but is received and assented to as soon as mentioned. Such as, the whole of any thing is greater than a part of it; or, the
whole is equal to all its parts taken together; or, two quantities that
are each of them equal to a third quantity, are equal to each other. 5. A Theorem is a demonstrative proposition; in which some property is
asserted, and the truth of it required to be proved. Thus, when it is said that the sum of the three angles of any plane tri
angle is equal to two right angles, this is called a Theorem; and the method of collecting the several arguments and proofs, and laying them together in proper order, by means of which the truth of the
proposition becomes evident, is called a Demonstration. 6. A Direct Demonstration is that which concludes with the direct and cer
tain proof of the proposition in hand. It is also called Positive or Affirmative, and sometimes an Ostensive De
monstration, because it is inost satisfactory to the mind.
7. An Indirect or Negative Demonstration is that which shows a proposition
to be true, by proving that some absurdity would necessarily follow if the proposition advanced were false. This is sometimes called Reductio ad Absurdum; because it shows the
absurdity and falsehood of all suppositions contrary to that contained
in the proposition. 8. A Problem is a proposition or a question proposed, which requires a 80
lution. As, to draw one line perpendicular to another; or to divide a line into
two equal parts. 9. Solution of a problem is the resolution or answer given to it. A Numerical or Numeral solution, is the answer given in numbers. A
Geometrical solution, is the answer given by the principles of Geome
try. And a Mechanical solution, is one obtained by trials. 10. A Lemma is a preparatory proposition, laid down in order to shorten
the demonstration of the main proposition which follows it. 11. A Corollary, or Consectary, is a consequence drawn immediately from
some proposition or other premises. 12. A Scholium is a remark or observation made on some foregoing propo
sition or premises. 13. An Hypothesis is a supposition assumed to be true, in order to argue
from, or to found upon it the reasoning and demonstration of some pro
position. 14. A Postulate, or Petition, is something required to be done, which is so
easy and evident that no person will hesitate to allow it. 15. Method is the art of disposing a train of arguments in a proper order,
to investigate the truth or falsity of a proposition, or to demonstrate it to others when it has been found out. This is either Analytical or Syn
thetical. 16. Analysis, or the Analytic method, is the art or mode of finding out the
truth of a proposition, by first supposing the thing to be done, and then reasoning step by step, till we arrive at some known truth. This is also called the Method of Invention, or Resolution; and is that which is com
monly used in Algebra. 17. Synthesis, or the Synthetic Method, is the searching out truth, by first laying down simple principles, and pursuing
the consequences flowing from them till we arrive at the conclusion. This is also called the Me
thod of Composition; and is that which is commonly used in Geometry. 18. The sign = (or two parallel lines), is the sign of equality ; thus,
A=B, implies that the quantity denoted by A is equal to the quantity
denoted by B, and is read A equal to B. 19. To signify that A is greater than B, the expression A 7B is used. And
to signify that A is less than B, the expression AB is used.
20. The sign of Addition is an erect cross; thus A+B implies the sum of
A and B, and is called A plus B. 21. Subtraction is denoted by a single line; as A-B, which is read A
minus B; A-B represents their difference, or the part of A remaining, when a part equal to B has been taken away from it
. In like manner, A-B+C, or A+C—B, signifies that A and C are to
be added together, and that B is to be subtracted from their sum, 22. Multiplication is expressed by an oblique cross, by a point, or by simple
apposition: thus, AXB, A.B, or AB, signifies that the quantity denoted by A is to be multiplied by the quantity denoted by B. The expression AB should not be employed when there is any danger of confounding it with that of the line AB, the distance between the points A and B. The multiplication of numbers cannot be expressed by simple
apposition. 23. When any quantities are enclosed in a parenthesis, or have a line drawn
over them, they are considered as one quantity with respect to other symbols: thus, the expression AX(B+C—D), or AXB+C-D, represents the product of A. by the quantity B+C-D. In like manner, (A+B)X(A-B+C), indicates the product of A+B by the quantity
A-B+C. 24. The Co-efficient of a quantity is the number prefixed to it: thus, 2AB
signifies that the line AB is to be taken 2 times; AB signifies the half
of the line AB. 25. Division, or the ratio of one quantity to another, is usually denoted by placing one of the two quantities over the other, in the form of a fraction :
A thus, signifies the ratio or quotient arising from the division of the
quantity A by B. In fact, this is division indicated. 26. The Square, Cube, &c. of a quantity, are expressed by placing a small
figure at the right hand of the quantity: thus, the square of the line AB is denoted by AB?, the cube of the line AB is designated by AB3 ;
and so on.
27. The Roots of quantities are expressed by means of the radical sign V,
with the proper index annexed; thus, the square root of 5 is indicated V5; V(AXB) means the square root of the product of A and B, or the mean proportional between them. The roots of quantities are sometimes expressed by means of fractional indices : thus, the cube root of AXBXC may be expressed by VAXBXC, or (AXBXC), and
28. Numbers in a parenthesis, such as (15. 1.), refers back to the number
of the proposition and the Book in which it has been announced or demonstrated. The expression (15. 1.) denotes the fifteenth proposition, first book, and so on. In like manner, (3. Ax.) designates the third axiom; (2. Post.) the second postulate ; (Def. 3.) the third definition, and so on.
29. The word, therefore, or hence, frequently occurs. To express either of
these words, the sign :. is generally used. 30. If the quotients of two pairs of numbers, or quantities, are equal, the
A C quantities are said to be proportional: thus, if
; then, A is to B as C to D. And the abbreviations of the proportion is, A:B::C:D; it is sometimes written A: B=C: D.
1. “A Point is that which has position, but not magnitude." (See
Notes.) 2. A line is length without breadth. “Corollary. The extremities of a line are points; and the intersections
“of one line with another are also points.” 3. “If two lines are such that they cannot coincide in any two points, with
“out coinciding altogether, each of them is called a straight line.” “Cor. Hence two straight lines cannot inclose a space. Neither can two “ straight lines have a common segment; that is, they cannot coincide
in part, without coinciding altogether.” 4. A superficies is that which has only length and breadth. • Cor. The extremities of a superficies are lines; and the intersections of
one superficies with another are also lines.” 5. A plane superficies is that in which any two points being taken, the
straight line between them lies wholly in that superficies. 6. A plane rectilineal angle is the inclination of two straight lines to one
another, which meet together, but are not in the same straight line.
N. B. “When several angles are at one point B, any one of them is expressed by three letters, of which the letter that is at the vertex of the angle, that is, at the point in which the straight lines that contain the angle 'meet one another, is put between the other two letters, and one of these 'two is somewhere upon one of those straight lines, and the other upon
the other line: Thus the angle which is contained by the straight lines, AB, *CB, is named the angle ABC, or CBA ; that which is contained by AB,
* The definitions marked with inverted commas are different from those of Euclid.
'BD, is named the angle ABD, or DBA ; and that which is contained by • BD, CB, is called the angle DBC, or CBD; but, if there be only one angle at a point, it may be expressed by a letter placed at that point ; as the angle at E.
7. When a straight line standing on another
straight line makes the adjacent angles equal to one another, each of the angles is called a right angle; and the straight line which stands on the other, is called a perpendicular to it.
8. An obtuse angle is that which is greater than a right angle.
9. An acute angle is that which is less than a right angle. 10. A figure is that which is enclosed by one or more boundaries.--The
word area denotes the quantity of space contained in a figure, without any
reference to the nature of the line or lines which bound it. 11. A circle is a plane figure contained by one line, which is called the
circumference, and is such that all straight lines drawn from a certain point within the figure to the circumference, are equal to one another.
12. And this point is called the centre of the circle. 13. A diameter of a circle is a straight line drawn through the centre, and
terminated both ways by the circumference. 14. A semicircle is the figure contained by a diameter and the part of the circumference cut off by the diameter.