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I apologise for the really basic question. This didn't really fit on any other StackExchange website so the Maths one was the closest one where I could ask.

Really Basic Question- What are 4 sided shapes called again?

Like how triangles are 3 sided shapes, octagons are 8 sided shapes, ... What are the 4 sided ones called then?

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  • $\begingroup$ Kinda weird - triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, ... In Germany, we just say Dreieck, Viereck, Fünfeck (three-edge, four-edge, five-edge) ;) $\endgroup$ – Dario Sep 22 '10 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ I Am Not A German -- but shouldn't that be three-corner, four-corner, five-corner? $\endgroup$ – TonyK Sep 22 '10 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @TonyK: Why? For any shape where each corner (or vertex) meets exactly 2 edges, you're going to have the same number of edges as the number of corners, so it doesn't matter which one you count. Even this question is termed in "number of sides" which are edges. $\endgroup$ – Dan Sep 22 '10 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ Um...'Eck' means 'corner'. $\endgroup$ – TonyK Sep 22 '10 at 19:59
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Shorter version is "quadrangle".

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    $\begingroup$ Or even shorter, "tetragon". $\endgroup$ – Paul R Sep 22 '10 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't "tetragon" imply equality of angles? $\endgroup$ – Victor Sorokin Sep 22 '10 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Only of its regular. $\endgroup$ – Dennis Williamson Sep 22 '10 at 20:36
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Wait, never mind. It's quadrilateral. :)

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I have a draft article where I 'should' use 'quadrilateral' dozens of times. I refuse, stating up front that I will use 'quad' instead.

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  • $\begingroup$ As long as I was in that position, I would be tempted to use something ridiculous, like "fourgon". $\endgroup$ – Niel de Beaudrap Sep 22 '10 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Neil de B: I am guided by two principles which are somewhat in conflict here - 1) to use standard terminology, and 2) to avoid overburdening the reader. Following (2), I shorten 'quadrilateral' to 'quad'. And it doesn't trample (1), as it's just shorthand, and not likely to cause confusion. $\endgroup$ – Dan Moore Sep 22 '10 at 19:09

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