angle, in mathematics, figure formed by the intersection of two straight lines; the lines are called the sides of the angle and their point of intersection the vertex of the angle. Angles are commonly measured in degrees (°) or in radians. If one side and the vertex of an angle are fixed and the other side is rotated about the vertex, it sweeps out a complete circle of 360° or 2π radians with each complete rotation. Half a rotation from 0° or 0 radians results in a straight angle, equal to 180° or π radians; the sides of a straight angle form a straight line. A quarter rotation (half of a straight angle) results in a right angle, equal to 90° or π/2 radians; the sides of a right angle are perpendicular to one another. An angle less than a right angle is acute, and an angle greater than a right angle is obtuse. Two angles that add up to a right angle are complementary. Two angles that add up to a straight angle are supplementary. One of the geometric problems of antiquity is the trisection of an angle. Angles can also be formed by higher–dimensional figures, as by a line and a plane, or by two intersecting planes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.