In geometry, a quadrilateral is a polygon with four sides or edges. There are several polygons that share the characteristics of a quadrilateral. However, while at least six shapes can be considered quadrilaterals, only two have four right angles -- rectangles and squares.
Properties of Quadrilaterals
Quadrilateral quite literally means “four sides.” It can refer to any mathematical shape that is made up of four edges and four corners; however, the edges must be straight lines. Another property of a quadrilateral is that the sum of the interior angles must equal 360 degrees. As long as a shape fits within these parameters, it can be considered a quadrilateral.
A rectangle is one kind of quadrilateral with four right angles. The definition of a rectangle is a shape with four sides and four right angles. This means each angle in a rectangle measures 90 degrees. Another property of a rectangle is that opposite sides are parallel to each other and equal in length.
A square is the other type of quadrilateral with four right angles. The definition of a square is a shape with four equal sides and four right angles. A square is distinguished from a rectangle in that every side of a square is equal in length. Opposite sides are also parallel to each other.
Other Types of Quadrilaterals
There are several other shapes that fit the parameters of a quadrilateral, though they do not have four right angles. A parallelogram is a simply a quadrilateral with parallel opposite sides. Different from a rectangle, a parallelogram does not have to have four right angles. A rhombus is a quadrilateral where all four sides are equal in length. Different from a square, a rhombus does not have to have four right angles. A trapezoid is a shape with only one pair of opposite parallel sides.
About the Author
Baptist Johnson was first published in 2000 when a poem he wrote won first prize in a local writing contest. He also writes and edits for Etched Press Society, a micro-publishing company based in Wilmington, N.C. Johnson has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from East Carolina University.