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wrestlemaniac's avatar

What is SIN, TAN, COS?

Asked by wrestlemaniac (810points) August 20th, 2008

I’m taking Geometry this year and i don’t get anything about this, anybody know about this stuff.

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29 Answers

sndfreQ's avatar

Basically as I remember it, these are tools which can help you determine lengths to any side of a triangle, and/or angles to that triangle, based on very limited given data (for example, knowing one angle and one distance).

Sine, Cosine and Tangent can also be applied to higher “maths” and are related to theorems and concepts in Trig and Calculus (that’s where the details get foggy for me…took Calculus in 10th grade and that was it! Changed majors and became a rock star…).

gailcalled's avatar

@sndfreq; Funny, I tried to become a rock star in 10 grade and was advised to take Calculus.

@Wrestle: It’s not geometry but trigonometry:

wrestlemaniac's avatar

well they teach it in my geometry class.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Sin: God will punish you.
Tan: Glad you have time to go to the beach, I don’t.
Cos: Abbreviation for “Companies.”

gailcalled's avatar

@Wresle; They are connected. Pay attention in class, do your homework, review before tests, and ask teacher after class if you are confused.

sndfreQ's avatar

Anyone remember: SOH CAH TOA?

Sine= Opposite divided by the Hypotenuse
Cosine= Adjacent divided by the Hypotenuse
Tangent= Opposite divided by the Adjacent

robmandu's avatar

heh… So-ca-toah!

So glad I’m not in engineering school anymore. Physics applications of calculus and trig plum wore me out. Math, math, math, math, math.

gailcalled's avatar

I learned them as “Opposite over Hypotenuse; Adjacent over Hyp, and Opposite over Adjacent..I apparently still remember.COT = OH, AH, OA.

@Wrestle; find a flagpole when the sun is out. Measure the shadow and take the angle from end of shadow to top of flagpole (with a sextant, I think). Then, using trig, you can find out how tall the flagpole is.

Les's avatar

@sndfreQ: I’m in 19th grade, and I still use SOH CAH TOA. ;-)

cyndyh's avatar

Geometry is very fiddly math. There were a lot of proofs and the like. (Maybe that’s different now in High School.) A lot of it ends up reducing to a few things you’ll use over and over and over. Geometry is really more about why these things work instead of the game it starts out seeming like it is. There are all sorts of applications to trigonometry (which is really a part of geometry that’s big enough to deserve its own class) that you’re not going to see until you’re doing much more math or engineering or any of the physical sciences or 3D graphics work or… any number of things.

I think the best approach to taking geometry is to see it as a game you’re going to try to win each day and trust that it’ll be useful later. Try to notice what’s happening over and over so you can rely on it later on. Some things build on the last thing and are more important, and some things they’re filling time with and don’t matter a lot. Make it a game and have fun with it.

Others have already told you what sine, cosine, and tangent are. So, I won’t repeat.


aisyna's avatar

SOHCAHTOA has something to do with it, B/C i remember wanting to name my dog or fish or something that. and i do kow you never say SIN TAN COS out loud, it like if you actually called a doctor DR instead of the actualy word so it is
if you dont say the actual names you will never be able to show your face in the math community again

Sloane2024's avatar

I’m in trig this year and we’re currently studying this amongst other things. Sndfreq was correct when he gave you the definitions of them, and when it comes to having to memorize them, I like to use the mnuemonic device: “Some (sine) old (opposite) hippie (hypotenuse) caught (cosine) another (adjacent) hippie (hypotenuse) trippin’ (tangent) on (opposite) acid (adjacent). If you learn this, then when it comes to memorizing the reciprocals, you just flip them. Hope this was of some assistance.

argaudette's avatar

I was taught. SOH > Ships of Halifax. CAH, Canadian Amateur Hockey. TOA, Tignish or Alberton. Haha, that’s how teach it here. Can’t complain, it works.

paulc's avatar

@argaudette that’s great! Maritime Math!

wrestlemaniac's avatar

thanks all of you, i ‘l try to keep in mind all that you said. :)

winblowzxp's avatar

Draw yourself a right triangle. Let the two legs where the 90 degree angle is be the x and y axes. Let the hypotenuse, or what closes two connecting points of the axes be r

Sin is opposite over hypotenuse, or y/r
Cos is adjacent over hypotenuse, or x/r
Tan is opposite over adjacent, or y/x


__| \
_y| \
__|_\ r
_ x

bloody removal of whitespace

cyndyh's avatar

@winblowzxp: That depends on which angle you’re referencing. What you’ve provided is only true with respect to the angle between x and r since y is opposite of that angle and x is adjacent to that angle.


gailcalled's avatar

Or whether you are standing on your head.

@Wrestle; you have enough information to measure the height of your school flag pole, for extra math points.

cyndyh's avatar

@gailcalled: Ooooo, I like it.

@wrestlemaniac: You could do that and let us know what you find.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

thanks you guys, you’ve been a great help. :) wish me luck in math this year.

cyndyh's avatar

You don’t need luck. You’ll have skill. :^>

wrestlemaniac's avatar

well then i wish you luck.

cyndyh's avatar

Thanks, but I don’t need it either. :^>

winblowzxp's avatar

Not quite what I was thinking. I thought I had put standard angle in there, but I guess that was another discussion. what I meant to say is that if you draw an angle in standard position, and draw a line from the end of that angle down to the x axis, then all of the above.

winblowzxp's avatar

You can also remember it as “Oscar Has A Hairy Old Ass”

cyndyh's avatar

@windblowzxp: gotcha. :^>

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