# Included Angle of a Triangle — Definition & Examples

## Included angle definition

An **included angle** is the angle between two line segments or rays. For any triangle, its three interior angles are each included between two sides. Draw or imagine an equilateral triangle:$\triangle NAP$:

To find the included angles, start with the sides:

and**NA**include $\angle A$ between them**AP**and**AP**include $\angle P$ between them**PN**and**PN**include $\angle N$ between them**NA**

Check for your understanding using a new triangle, $\triangle JET$:

**[insert obtuse scalene △JET with side JE = 13 meters, ET = 7 m, TJ = 9 m, ∠J ≈ 30.8°, ∠E ≈ 41.2°, ∠T ≈ 108.0°]**

Is $\angle E$ the included angle for sides * JE* and

*?*

**TJ**No; $\angle J$ is their included angle. $\angle E$ is the included angle for sides* JE* and

*.*

**ET**Geometry allows you to start with the simplest measures of the earth ("*geo-metry"* means "*earth measure"*), and build to harder concepts. Trigonometry is closely connected to geometry, so "included angle" finds a spot in both mathematical fields.

## Included angles in geometry

Most mathematics students find geometry a bit easier to comprehend than trigonometry. So let's first look at included angles in geometry. In formal proofs, anytime you see an angle sandwiched between other elements, you are using an included angle:

Side Angle Side congruence

Side Angle Side Theorem of similarity

### Congruence

Picture two isosceles triangles. The first isosceles triangle has legs **14 decimeters** long and a base **12 decimeters**. Its included angle is **67°**. Look at the second drawing. It has the same measurements.

Are the two isosceles triangles **congruent**?

Thanks to the Side Angle Side Theorem, which states that two triangles are congruent if two of their sides, and the included angle, are congruent. You know mathematically that these two isosceles triangles are congruent.

### Similarity

The same concept applies to **similarity** of triangles: the Side Angle Side Theorem (or postulate) of similarity tells us that two triangles are similar if two corresponding sides are proportional and their included angle is congruent. Here is a new obtuse triangle, $\triangle CAR$, to compare with $\triangle JET$ above.

**[insert obtuse scalene △CAR with side CA = 39 meters, AR = 21 m, RC = 27 m and all angles = △JET]**

Notice that side * AR* =

**21 m**and

*=*

**RC****27 m**, while our original $\triangle JET$ had

*=*

**ET****7 m**,

*=*

**TJ****9 m**.

The angle between them, $\angle R$ in $\triangle CAR$ and $\angle T$ in $\triangle JET$, are both ≈ **108.0°**. Are these two triangles similar?

Our new $\triangle CAR$ has sides three times longer than $\triangle JET$ but the same angle between those corresponding sides. The triangles are similar, but not congruent, thanks to the Side Angle Side Postulate (or theorem) of similarity.

## Included angles in trigonometry

Trigonometry allows you to find properties of triangles, like area, using only the relationships between sides and angles. While geometry provides a formula for area, $A=\frac{1}{2}bh$, trigonometry provides a different one, where * A* = area of the triangle,

*and*

**a***are lengths of sides, and*

**b***is their included angle:*

**C**Here you are multiplying the lengths of two sides times the sine of their included angle, and then taking half of that (since a triangle is half a rectangle).

Suppose you have a triangle-shaped state park famous for its herds of wild zoids roaming the wide open spaces:

*[insert obtuse scalene triangle WYD with ∠Y = 105°; side WY = 25 km and side YD = 15 km]*

You can see that side * WY* will stand in for our

*, and side*

**a***will be our*

**YD***side. We need only find the sine of $\angle Y$,*

**b****105°**, to find the area.

Plug in what you know:

If **181 square kilometers** seems large, remember we were drawing a state park, full of wide open spaces where you can go to *trap a zoid*.

## Lesson summary

After studying this lesson, you are now able to identify the included angle for any two sides of any triangle, use included angles in geometric proofs of similarity and congruence, and apply the trigonometry formula for finding the area of a triangle, $A=\frac{1}{2}ab\sin\left(C\right)$ where ** a** and

**are sides of the triangle and**

*b***is the included angle.**

*C*