# How do I find the angles of a triangle if I only have the lengths of the sides?

Is it possible to find the angles of a triangle if I only have its sides? If so, how can I achieve this?

Regarding my knowledge of triangles: Whilst I was taught trigonometry a few years ago, I cannot for the life of me remember how to do things like use SOHCAHTOA to figure out the length of a side given an angle and a side. I know it's possible and if that were my problem I would continue searching the internet for a solution, but I gather finding an angle without knowing any of the angles is more difficult.

• If you want to learn it then you need to study the Law of Cosines. If you need a formula then it is $\cos A={{b^2+c^2-a^2}\over {2ab}}$ – Maesumi Feb 2 '13 at 17:56
• Sorry to correct the formula I wrote it is $\cos(A)={{b^2+c^2-a^2}\over {2*b*c}}$. In the denominator either $(2*b)*c$ or $2*(b*c)$ will be same. – Maesumi Feb 2 '13 at 19:36

Let $\triangle ABC$ have sides $a$, $b$, and $c$. We are using the usual convention that the length of the side opposite vertex $A$ is called $a$, and so on.
Let $\theta=\angle C$. Then the Cosine Law says that $$c^2=a^2+b^2-2ab\cos \theta.$$ Since we know $a$, $b$, and $c$, we can use the above formula to calculate $\cos\theta$. Then we can use the $\cos^{-1}$ button on the calculator to find $\theta$ to excellent accuracy.