What is a Quadrilateral? - Squares and Parallelograms

Quatr.us answers questions: an online encyclopedia of history and science



A quadrilateral is a flat shape, in one plane, defined by four points at the four corners. A quadrilateral has four sides that can be of any length, and four corners, that can be any angle so long as they add up to 360 degrees. A rectangle is a special kind of quadrilateral, and a square is a special kind of rectangle.

To figure out the perimeter of the quadrilateral, you can add the lengths of all the sides together. To figure out the area of a quadrilateral, you have to cut it into shapes that are easier to figure out. You cut it into two pieces running a line from one corner to the opposite corner, and then you have two triangles. You can figure out the area of those triangles and then add them together to get the area of your quadrilateral. But unless at least two opposite sides of the quadrilateral are parallel to each other, it's hard to figure out the height of the triangles, so you won't really be able to figure out the area of the quadrilateral either. If they are parallel, then you have a parallelogram, which is easier to figure out.

More about Rectangles
More about Squares
More about Geometry

Bibliography and further reading about geometry:

More about Geometry
More Easy Math
Quatr.us home

Copyright 2012-2015 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated September 2015.

About - Contact - Privacy Policy - What do the broom and the mop say when you open the closet door?