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What is a Polygon?

In the realm of geometry, a polygon serves as a two-dimensional shape that is outlined by straight lines connecting end-to-end to form an enclosed loop. Unlike curved figures, polygons strictly have straight sides. The line segments that outline a polygon connect in a way that creates a closed path. This entire chain of connected lines is what defines a polygon’s shape. These lines or line segments are known as the edges or sides of the polygon, while the junction points at which these lines meet are referred to as vertices or corners. Additionally, the term “n-gon” is employed to describe a polygon that consists of ‘n’ number of sides.

Important Characteristics of Polygons

Edges or Sides

An edge, or a side, is a straight line that forms a part of the boundary of the polygon. The edges are critical in defining the shape of the polygon, and they must be straight. Curved lines do not form the sides of polygons.

Vertices or Corners

The vertices, also known as corners, are the points where two edges of the polygon intersect. The vertices are essential for defining the boundary of the polygon.

Closed Path

For a shape to be considered a polygon, the sides must connect in such a way that they form a closed path. This means that each vertex is connected to exactly two other vertices, ensuring that the path is continuous and closed.

Plane Figure

A polygon is strictly a two-dimensional shape. Although it might be tempting to associate it with three-dimensional forms, a polygon by definition exists in a plane. This plane can be imagined as a flat surface that extends infinitely in two dimensions.

Types of Polygons

Regular and Irregular Polygons

A regular polygon is a special type of polygon in which all edges are of equal length and all angles are of equal measure. Irregular polygons do not have this uniformity.

Convex and Concave Polygons

In a convex polygon, all the interior angles are less than 180 degrees. In a concave polygon, at least one interior angle measures more than 180 degrees.

Simple and Complex Polygons

A simple polygon has edges that do not cross each other, whereas a complex polygon has edges that do intersect at points other than the vertices.

The Concept of N-gon

The term ‘n-gon’ is particularly useful when the number of sides is variable or unspecified. For example, a polygon with three sides is a triangle or a 3-gon, a polygon with four sides is a quadrilateral or a 4-gon, and so on. This nomenclature allows for a generalized discussion about polygons.

Applications of Polygons

Polygons have a wide range of applications in various fields, including but not limited to:

  • Mathematics and geometry for studying shapes and spaces
  • Computer graphics, where they serve as basic units for rendering images
  • Architecture and construction, where they form the basis for structural designs
  • Geography, for mapping out territories and regions


Polygons are fundamental shapes in geometry, characterized by their straight edges and closed paths. They exist in various types, including regular and irregular, convex and concave, as well as simple and complex. Their versatile nature makes them applicable in a myriad of disciplines. Understanding their properties can provide valuable insights into the fields of mathematics, computer science, architecture, and more.

While this guide has been comprehensive, it’s important to note that the study of polygons is an expansive field, and this introduction only scratches the surface. Further studies into more specific types of polygons, their properties, and their applications could provide a deeper understanding of these fascinating geometric figures.

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