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Trigonometric functions

Cosine redirects here. For the similarity measure, see Trigonometric functions have a wide range of uses includ-
Cosine similarity. ing computing unknown lengths and angles in triangles
In mathematics, the trigonometric functions (also (often right triangles). In this use, trigonometric func-
tions are used, for instance, in navigation, engineering,
and physics. A common use in elementary physics is
A resolving a vector into Cartesian coordinates. The sine
and cosine functions are also commonly used to model
periodic function phenomena such as sound and light
waves, the position and velocity of harmonic oscillators,
V U C sunlight intensity and day length, and average tempera-
ture variations through the year.
UV BC In modern usage, there are six basic trigonometric func-
si n tions, tabulated here with equations that relate them to
UT BA one another. Especially with the last four, these rela-

tions are often taken as the denitions of those functions,
but one can dene them equally well geometrically, or by
TU AB other means, and then derive these relations.

UV sin
t an 1 Right-angled triangle denitions
T TV co s

Basis of trigonometry: if two right triangles have equal acute

angles, they are similar, so their side lengths are proportional.
Proportionality constants are written within the image: sin , cos
, tan , where is the common measure of ve acute angles.

called the circular functions) are functions of an angle.

They relate the angles of a triangle to the lengths of its
sides. Trigonometric functions are important in the study
of triangles and modeling periodic phenomena, among
many other applications.
The most familiar trigonometric functions are the sine,
cosine, and tangent. In the context of the standard unit
circle (a circle with radius 1 unit), where a triangle is
formed by a ray starting at the origin and making some
angle with the x-axis, the sine of the angle gives the length
of the y-component (the opposite to the angle or the
rise) of the triangle, the cosine gives the length of the x-
component (the adjacent of the angle or the run), and the
tangent function gives the slope (y-component divided by A right triangle always includes a 90 (/2 radians) angle, here
the x-component). More precise denitions are detailed labeled C. Angles A and B may vary. Trigonometric functions
below. Trigonometric functions are commonly dened as specify the relationships among side lengths and interior angles
ratios of two sides of a right triangle containing the angle, of a right triangle.
and can equivalently be dened as the lengths of various
line segments from a unit circle. More modern deni- The notion that there should be some standard correspon-
tions express them as innite series or as solutions of cer- dence between the lengths of the sides of a triangle and
tain dierential equations, allowing their extension to ar- the angles of the triangle comes as soon as one recognizes
bitrary positive and negative values and even to complex that similar triangles maintain the same ratios between
numbers. their sides. That is, for any similar triangle the ratio of


For example, the gure shows sin() for angles , ,

+ , and 2 depicted on the unit circle (top) and
as a graph (bottom). The value of the sine repeats itself
apart from sign in all four quadrants, and if the range of
is extended to additional rotations, this behavior repeats
periodically with a period 2.
The trigonometric functions are summarized in the fol-
lowing table and described in more detail below. The an-
gle is the angle between the hypotenuse and the adjacent
line the angle at A in the accompanying diagram.

1.1 Sine, cosine, and tangent

The sine of an angle is the ratio of the length of the op-
posite side to the length of the hypotenuse. The word
comes from the Latin sinus for gulf or bay,[1] since, given
a unit circle, it is the side of the triangle on which the
angle opens. In our case:

sin A =
The cosine of an angle is the ratio of the length of the
Top: Trigonometric function sin for selected angles , ,
+ , and 2 in the four quadrants.
Bottom: Graph of sine function versus angle. Angles from the
top panel are identied.

the hypotenuse (for example) and another of the sides re-

mains the same. If the hypotenuse is twice as long, so are
the sides. It is these ratios that the trigonometric functions
express. An illustration of the relationship between sine and its out-of-
phase complement, cosine. Cosine is identical, but /2 radians
To dene the trigonometric functions for the angle A, start out of phase to the left; so cos A = sin(A + /2).
with any right triangle that contains the angle A. The three
sides of the triangle are named as follows: adjacent side to the length of the hypotenuse, so called
because it is the sine of the complementary or co-angle,
The hypotenuse is the side opposite the right angle, the other non-right angle.[2] Because the angle sum of a
in this case side h. The hypotenuse is always the triangle is radians, the co-angle B is equal to /2 A;
longest side of a right-angled triangle. so cos A = sin B = sin(/2 A). In our case:
The opposite side is the side opposite to the angle we
are interested in (angle A), in this case side a. adjacent
cos A =
The adjacent side is the side having both the angles
of interest (angle A and right-angle C), in this case The tangent of an angle is the ratio of the length of
side b. the opposite side to the length of the adjacent side: so
called because it can be represented as a line segment
In ordinary Euclidean geometry, according to the triangle tangent to the circle, that is the line that touches the cir-
postulate, the inside angles of every triangle total 180 cle, from Latin linea tangens or touching line (cf. tangere,
( radians). Therefore, in a right-angled triangle, the two to touch). In our case:
non-right angles total 90 (/2 radians), so each of these
angles must be in the range of (0,/2) as expressed in in- opposite
terval notation. The following denitions apply to angles tan A =
in this 0 /2 range. They can be extended to the full set
of real arguments by using the unit circle, or by requiring Tangent may also be represented in terms of sine and co-
certain symmetries and that they be periodic functions. sine, that is:

1. Sine is rst, rise is rst meaning that Sine takes

the angle of the line segment and tells its vertical
sin A hypotenuse opposite rise when the length of the line is 1.
tan A = = adjacent
cos A adjacent
hypotenuse 2. Cosine is second, run is second meaning that Co-
sine takes the angle of the line segment and tells its
These ratios do not depend on the size of the particular
horizontal run when the length of the line is 1.
right triangle chosen, as long as the focus angle is equal,
since all such triangles are similar. 3. Tangent combines the rise and run meaning that
The acronyms SOH-CAH-TOA (soak-a-toe, sock- Tangent takes the angle of the line segment and tells
a-toa, so-kah-toa) and OHSAHCOAT are com- its slope; or alternatively, tells the vertical rise when
monly used trigonometric mnemonics for these ratios. the line segments horizontal run is 1.

This shows the main use of tangent and arctangent: con-

1.2 Cosecant, secant, and cotangent verting between the two ways of telling the slant of a line,
i.e., angles and slopes. (The arctangent or inverse tan-
The remaining three functions are best dened using gent is not to be confused with the cotangent, which is
the above three functions, and can be considered their cosine divided by sine.)
reciprocals. While the length of the line segment makes no dierence
The cosecant csc(A) or cosec(A), is the reciprocal of for the slope (the slope does not depend on the length of
sin(A); i.e. the ratio of the length of the hypotenuse to the slanted line), it does aect rise and run. To adjust and
the length of the opposite side; so called because it is the nd the actual rise and run when the line does not have a
secant of the complementary or co-angle: length of 1, just multiply the sine and cosine by the line
length. For instance, if the line segment has length 5, the
run at an angle of 7 is 5 cos(7)
1 hypotenuse h
csc A = = = .
sin A opposite a
2 Unit-circle denitions
The secant sec(A) is the reciprocal of cos(A); i.e. the
ratio of the length of the hypotenuse to the length of the
adjacent side: Fc
excsc H ot
cvs A
csc tan

1 hypotenuse h sin

sec A = = = . arc
cos A adjacent b
It is so called because it represents the line that cuts the O cos versin D exsec E
circle (from Latin: secare, to cut).[4]
The cotangent cot(A), ctg(A) or ctn(A), is the reciprocal sec
of tan(A); i.e. the ratio of the length of the adjacent side
to the length of the opposite side; so called because it is B
the tangent of the complementary or co-angle:
All of the trigonometric functions of the angle can be con-
structed geometrically in terms of a unit circle centered at O.
1 adjacent b
cot A = = = . The six trigonometric functions can also be dened in
tan A opposite a
terms of the unit circle, the circle of radius one centered
at the origin. While right-angled triangle denitions per-
1.3 Mnemonics mit the denition of the trigonometric functions for an-
gles between 0 and /2 radians, the unit circle denition
Equivalent to the right-triangle denitions, the trigono- extends the denitions of the trigonometric functions to
metric functions can also be dened in terms of the rise, all positive and negative arguments.
run, and slope of a line segment relative to horizontal. The The equation for the unit circle is
slope is commonly taught as rise over run or rise/run.
The three main trigonometric functions are commonly
taught in the order sine, cosine, tangent. With a line x2 + y 2 = 1.
segment length of 1 (as in a unit circle), the following
mnemonic devices show the correspondence of deni- Let a line through the center O of the circle, making an
tions: angle of with the positive half of the x-axis. The line

y 3 sine

Quadrant II Quadrant I

Science All
1 cotangent

sin, cosec + sin, cosec + 0

cos, sec cos, sec + -1

tan, cot tan, cot + -2

Quadrant III Quadrant IV
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4

Teachers Crazy Trigonometric functions: Sine, Cosine, Tangent, Cosecant (dot-

sin, cosec sin, cosec ted), Secant (dotted), Cotangent (dotted)

cos, sec cos, sec +

tan, cot + tan, cot 3 Algebraic values

Signs of trigonometric functions in each quadrant. The

mnemonic "all science teachers (are) crazy lists the functions
which are positive from quadrants I to IV.[5] This is a variation
on the mnemonic "All Students Take Calculus".

intersects the unit circle at a point A whose x- and y-

coordinates are cos() and sin() respectively.
Consider the right triangle whose vertices are the point A,
the center of the circle O, and the point C of the x-axis,
that has the same x-coordinate as A. The radius of the
circle is equal to the hypotenuse OA, and has length 1, so
sin() = y/1 and cos() = x/1.
For angles greater than 2 or less than 2, one simply
continues to rotate around the circle; sine and cosine are
thus periodic functions with period 2:

sin = sin ( + 2k) ,

cos = cos ( + 2k) , The unit circle, with some points labeled with their cosine and
sine (in this order), and the corresponding angles in radians and
for any angle and any integer k. This period of a full
circle (that is, 2 radians or 360 degrees) is the smallest
period of the sine and the cosine.
The algebraic expressions for sin(0), sin(30), sin(45),
Above, only sine and cosine were dened directly by the sin(60) and sin(90) are
unit circle, but other trigonometric functions can be de-
ned either from sine and cosine by

1 2 3
0, , , , 1,
sin cos 1 2 2 2
tan = , cot = = ,
cos sin tan respectively. Writing the numerators
as square


1 1 of consecutive natural numbers ( 0
, 1
, 2
, 3
, 4
sec = , csc = , 2 2 2 2 2
cos sin ) provides an easy way to remember the values. Such [6]

or as signed lengths of line segments (see the gure, which simple expressions generally do not exist for other angles
shows also other trigonometric functions that are no more which are rational multiples of a straight angle.
in use) For an angle which, measured in degrees, is a multiple of
The primitive periods of the secant and the cosecant are three, the sine and the cosine may be expressed in terms
a full circle, i.e. 2 radians or 360 degrees, and the prim- of square roots, as shown below. These values of the sine
itive periods of the tangent and the cotangent is only a and the cosine may thus be constructed by ruler and com-
half-circle, i.e. radians or 180 degrees. pass.

For an angle of an integer number of degrees, the sine Algebraic expressions can be deduced for other angles of
and the cosine may be expressed in terms of square roots an integer number of degrees, for example,
and the cube root of a non-real complex number. Galois
theory allows to prove that, if the angle is not a multiple
of 3, non-real cube roots are unavoidable. 1
For an angle which, measured in degrees, is a rational sin 1 =
number, the sine and the cosine are algebraic numbers, 2i
which may be expressed in terms of nth roots. This re-
where z = a + ib, and a and b are the above algebraic
sults from the fact that the Galois groups of the cyclotomic
expressions for, respectively, cos 3 and sin 3, and the
polynomials are cyclic.
principal cube root (that is, the cube root with the largest
For an angle which, measured in degrees, is not a rational real part) is to be taken.
number, then either the angle or both the sine and the
cosine are transcendental numbers. This is a corollary of
Bakers theorem, proved in 1966.
4 Series denitions
3.1 Explicit values
Main article: Trigonometric constants expressed in real

Algebraic expressions for 15, 18, 36, 54, 72 and 75

are as follows:
-2 - 2

6 2
sin 15 = cos 75 =

sin 18 = cos 72 =

10 2 5 The sine function (blue) is closely approximated by its Taylor

sin 36 = cos 54 = polynomial of degree 7 (pink) for a full cycle centered on the
4 origin.

5 + 1
sin 54 = cos 36 =

10 + 2 5
sin 72 = cos 18 =

6+ 2
sin 75 = cos 15 = .
From these, the algebraic expressions for all multiples of
3 can be computed. For example:

( ) ( ) ( )
2 1 3 5+ 5+ 1+ 3 10 2
sin 3 = cos 87 =

30 6 5 5 1 Animation for the approximation of cosine via Taylor polynomi-
sin 6 = cos 84 = als.

10 + 2 2 5 5 Trigonometric functions are analytic functions. Using
sin 9 = cos 81 =
8 only geometry and properties of limits, it can be shown
that the derivative of sine is cosine and the derivative of
10 2 5 + 3 + 15
sin 84 = cos 6 = cosine is the negative of sine. One can then use the theory
8 of Taylor series to show that the following identities hold
( ) ( ) ( ) [7]
2 1+ 3 5+ 5 1 3 for real
10 all 2 numbers x. Here, and generally in calculus,
sin 87 = cos 3 = . measured in radians.
all angles are

U2n x2n (1)n E2n x2n
sec x = =
2 p1(x) n=0
(2n)! n=0
p3(x) 1 5 61 6
1.5 p4(x) = 1 + x2 + x4 + x + , for|x| < .
p5(x) 2 24 720 2

(1)n 22n B2n x2n1
cot x =
1 1 2 5
= x1 x x3 x , for0 < |x| < .

3 45 945
When the series for the tangent and secant functions are
-1 expressed in a form in which the denominators are the
corresponding factorials, the numerators, called the tan-
-10 -5 0 5 10 gent numbers and secant numbers respectively, have a
combinatorial interpretation: they enumerate alternating
cos(x) together with the rst Taylor polynomials pn (x) = permutations of nite sets, of odd cardinality for the tan-
n k x2k gent series and even cardinality for the secant series.[9]
k=0 (1) (2k)!
The series itself can be found by a power series solution
of the aforementioned dierential equation.
From a theorem in complex analysis, there is a unique
x 3
x 5
x 7 analytic continuation of this real function to the domain of
sin x = x + + complex numbers. They have the same Taylor series, and
3! 5! 7!
so the trigonometric functions are dened on the complex
(1)n x2n+1 numbers using the Taylor series above.
(2n + 1)!
There is a series representation as partial fraction ex-
x2 x4 x6 pansion where just translated reciprocal functions are
cos x = 1 + + summed up, such that the poles of the cotangent function
2! 4! 6!
and the reciprocal functions match:[10]
(1)n x2n
The innite series appearing in these identities are
cot(x) = lim .
convergent in the whole complex plane and are often N
taken as the denitions of the sine and cosine functions
of a complex variable. Another standard (and equiva- This identity can be proven with the Herglotz trick.[11]
lent) denition of the sine and the cosine as functions of Combining the (n)th with the nth term lead to absolutely
a complex variable is through their dierential equation, convergent series:
Other series can be found.[8] For the following trigono-
metric functions: 1 2x 1 (1)n 2x
cot(x) = + , = + .
x n=1 x2 n2 sin(x) x n=1 x2 n2
U is the nth up/down number,
B is the nth Bernoulli number, and 4.1 Relationship to exponential function
E (below) is the nth Euler number. and complex numbers
It can be shown from the series denitions[12] that the sine
U2n+1 x2n+1
tan x = and cosine functions are respectively the imaginary and
(2n + 1)!
n=0 real parts of the exponential function of a purely imagi-

(1)n1 22n (22n 1)B2n x2n1 nary argument. That is, if x is real, we have
1 2 17 7
= x + x3 + x5 + x + , for|x| <cos.x = Re(eix ) , sin x = Im(eix ) ,
3 15 315 2

(1)n+1 2(22n1 1)B2n x2n1 and
csc x =
1 7 3 31 5
= x1 + x + x + x + , eix<=|x|cos
for0 <x.+ i sin x .
6 360 15120

sin(x + iy) = sin x cosh y + i cos x sinh y ,

cos(x + iy) = cos x cosh y i sin x sinh y .
This exhibits a deep relationship between the complex
sine and cosine functions and their real (sin, cos) and hy-
perbolic real (sinh, cosh) counterparts.

4.1.1 Complex graphs

In the following graphs, the domain is the complex plane

pictured, and the range values are indicated at each point
by color. Brightness indicates the size (absolute value) of
the range value, with black being zero. Hue varies with
argument, or angle, measured from the positive real axis.

Eulers formula illustrated with the three dimensional helix, start-

ing with the 2D orthogonal components of the unit circle, sine and
5 Denitions via dierential equa-
cosine (using = t). tions
Both the sine and cosine functions satisfy the dierential
ei equation:

1 y = y .
That is to say, each is the additive inverse of its own sec-
ond derivative. Within the 2-dimensional function space
sin() V consisting of all solutions of this equation,
cos() the sine function is the unique solution satisfying the
initial condition (y (0), y(0)) = (1, 0) and
the cosine function is the unique solution satisfying
the initial condition (y (0), y(0)) = (0, 1) .

Since the sine and cosine functions are linearly indepen-

dent, together they form a basis of V. This method of
dening the sine and cosine functions is essentially equiv-
sin() is the imaginary part of ei and cos() is its real part. alent to using Eulers formula. (See linear dierential
equation.) It turns out that this dierential equation can
be used not only to dene the sine and cosine functions
The latter identity, although primarily established for real but also to prove the trigonometric identities for the sine
x, remains valid for every complex x, and is called Eulers and cosine functions.
Further, the observation that sine and cosine satises y
Eulers formula can be used to derive most trigonometric = y means that they are eigenfunctions of the second-
identities from the properties of the exponential function, derivative operator.
by writing sine and cosine as:
The tangent function is the unique solution of the nonlin-
ear dierential equation
eix eix eix + eix
sin x = , cos x = .
2i 2 y = 1 + y2
It is also sometimes useful to express the complex sine satisfying the initial condition y(0) = 0. There is a very
and cosine functions in terms of the real and imaginary interesting visual proof that the tangent function satises
parts of their arguments. this dierential equation.[13]

5.1 The signicance of radians which is standard shorthand notation for

Radians specify an angle by measuring the length around

the path of the unit circle and constitute a special argu-
(sin x)2 + (cos x)2 = 1.
ment to the sine and cosine functions. In particular, only
sines and cosines that map radians to ratios satisfy the
Other key relationships are the sum and dierence for-
dierential equations that classically describe them. If
mulas, which give the sine and cosine of the sum and
an argument to sine or cosine in radians is scaled by fre-
dierence of two angles in terms of sines and cosines of
the angles themselves. These can be derived geometri-
cally, using arguments that date to Ptolemy. One can also
produce them algebraically using Eulers formula.
f (x) = sin(kx),

then the derivatives will scale by amplitude. sin (x + y) = sin x cos y + cos x sin y,
cos (x + y) = cos x cos y sin x sin y,

f (x) = k cos(kx). sin (x y) = sin x cos y cos x sin y,

cos (x y) = cos x cos y + sin x sin y.
Here, k is a constant that represents a mapping between
units. If x is in degrees, then
These in turn lead to the following three-angle formulae:

k= .
sin (x + y + z) = sin x cos y cos z + sin y cos z cos x + sin z cos y cos x
This means that the second derivative of a sine in degrees cos (x + y + z) = cos x cos y cos z cos x sin y sin z cos y sin x sin z
does not satisfy the dierential equation
When the two angles are equal, the sum formulas reduce
to simpler equations known as the double-angle formu-
y = y lae.

but rather
sin (2x) = 2 sin x cos x,
cos (2x) = cos2 x sin2 x = 2 cos2 x 1 = 1 2 sin2 x.
y = k 2 y.

The cosines second derivative behaves similarly. When three angles are equal, the three-angle formulae
simplify to
This means that these sines and cosines are dierent func-
tions, and that the fourth derivative of sine will be sine
again only if the argument is in radians.
sin(3x) = 3 sin x 4 sin3 x.
cos(3x) = 4 cos3 x 3 cos x.
6 Identities These identities can also be used to derive the product-
to-sum identities that were used in antiquity to transform
Main articles: List of trigonometric identities and Proofs the product of two numbers into a sum of numbers and
of trigonometric identities greatly speed operations, much like the logarithm func-
Many identities interrelate the trigonometric functions.
Among the most frequently used is the Pythagorean
identity, which states that for any angle, the square of 6.1 Calculus
the sine plus the square of the cosine is 1. This is easy to
see by studying a right triangle of hypotenuse 1 and ap- For integrals and derivatives of trigonometric functions,
plying the Pythagorean theorem. In symbolic form, the see the relevant sections of Dierentiation of trigonomet-
Pythagorean identity is written ric functions, Lists of integrals and List of integrals of
trigonometric functions. Below is the list of the deriva-
tives and integrals of the six basic trigonometric func-
sin2 x + cos2 x = 1 tions. The number C is a constant of integration.

their values, calculated to many signicant gures. Such

tables have been available for as long as trigonometric
f (x) f (x) f (x)functions
dx have been described (see History below), and
sin x cos x cos x +wereC typically generated by repeated application of the
cos x sin x sin x +half-angle
C and angle-addition identities starting from a
tan x sec2 x = 1 + tan2 x ln |cos x| +known
C value (such as sin(/2) = 1).
cot x csc2 x = (1 + cot2 x) ln |sin x| + C
sec x sec x tan x ln |sec x + tan x| +Modern
C computers use a variety of techniques.[15] One
csc x csc x cot x ln |csc x + cot x| +commonC method, especially on higher-end processors
with oating point units, is to combine a polynomial
or rational approximation (such as Chebyshev approxi-
6.2 Denitions using functional equations mation, best uniform approximation, and Pad approx-
imation, and typically for higher or variable precisions,
In mathematical analysis, one can dene the trigonomet- Taylor and Laurent series) with range reduction and a
ric functions using functional equations based on prop- table lookupthey rst look up the closest angle in a
erties like the dierence formula. Taking as given these small table, and then use the polynomial to compute
formulas, one can prove that only two real functions sat- the correction.[16] Devices that lack hardware multipliers
isfy those conditions. Symbolically, we say that there ex- often use an algorithm called CORDIC (as well as re-
ists exactly one pair of real functions sin and cos such lated techniques), which uses only addition, subtraction,
that for all real numbers x and y, the following equation bitshift, and table lookup. These methods are commonly
holds:[14] implemented in hardware oating-point units for perfor-
mance reasons.
For very high precision calculations, when series expan-
cos(x y) = cos x cos y + sin x sin y sion convergence becomes too slow, trigonometric func-
tions can be approximated by the arithmetic-geometric
with the added condition that mean, which itself approximates the trigonometric func-
tion by the (complex) elliptic integral.[17]
Main article: Exact trigonometric constants
0 < x cos x < sin x < x for 0 < x < 1.

Other derivations, starting from other functional equa- Finally, for some simple angles, the values can be easily
tions, are also possible, and such derivations can be ex- computed by hand using the Pythagorean theorem, as in
tended to the complex numbers. As an example, this the following examples. For example, the sine, cosine and
derivation can be used to dene trigonometry in Galois tangent of any integer multiple of /60 radians (3) can
elds. be found exactly by hand.
Consider a right triangle where the two other angles are
equal, and therefore are both /4 radians (45). Then the
7 Computation length of side b and the length of side a are equal; we can
choose a = b = 1. The values of sine, cosine and tangent
The computation of trigonometric functions is a compli- of an angle of /4 radians (45) can then be found using
cated subject, which can today be avoided by most peo- the Pythagorean theorem:
ple because of the widespread availability of computers
and scientic calculators that provide built-in trigonomet-
ric functions for any angle. This section, however, de- c = a2 + b2 = 2 .
scribes details of their computation in three important
contexts: the historical use of trigonometric tables, the Therefore:
modern techniques used by computers, and a few impor-
tant angles where simple exact values are easily found.

The rst step in computing any trigonometric function is sin = sin 45 = cos = cos 45 = 1 = 2 ,
range reductionreducing the given angle to a reduced 4 4 2 2
angle inside a small range of angles, say 0 to /2, us-

ing the periodicity and symmetries of the trigonometric sin 4 1 2 2
functions. tan = tan 45 = = = = 1.
4 cos 4 2 1 2
Main article: Generating trigonometric tables To determine the trigonometric functions for angles of
/3 radians (60) and /6 radians (30), we start with an
Prior to computers, people typically evaluated trigono- equilateral triangle of side length 1. All its angles are /3
metric functions by interpolating from a detailed table of radians (60). By dividing it into two, we obtain a right

8 Inverse functions

30 30 Main article: Inverse trigonometric functions

/6 /6
The trigonometric functions are periodic, and hence not
1 injective, so strictly they do not have an inverse func-
tion. Therefore, to dene an inverse function we must
restrict their domains so that the trigonometric function
is bijective. In the following, the functions on the left are
dened by the equation on the right; these are not proved
identities. The principal inverses are usually dened as:

60 60 Function Denition Field Value

/3 rad /3 rad arcsin x = y sin y = x 2 y 2
arccos x = y cos y = x 0y
arctan x = y tan y = x 2 < y < 2
Computing trigonometric functions from an equilateral triangle arccot x = y cot y = x 0<y<
arcsec x = y sec y = x 0 y , y = 2
arccsc x = y csc y = x 2 y 2 , y = 0
triangle with /6 radians (30) and /3 radians (60) an-
1 1
gles. For this triangle, the shortest side is 1/2, the next The notations sin and cos are often used for arcsin and
largest side is 3/2 and the hypotenuse is 1. This yields: arccos, etc. When this notation is used, the inverse func-
tions could be confused with the multiplicative inverses of
the functions. The notation using the arc-" prex avoids
1 such confusion, though arcsec for arcsecant can be con-
sin = sin 30 = cos = cos 60 = , fused with "arcsecond".
6 3 2
Just like the sine and cosine, the inverse trigonometric
functions can also be dened in terms of innite series.
cos = cos 30 = sin = sin 60 = , For example,
6 3 2
( ) 3 ( ) ( )
1 3 1 z 1 3 z5 1 3 5 z7
tan = tan 30 = cot = cot 60 = = . arcsin z = z+ + + + .
6 3 3 3 2 3 24 5 246 7
These functions may also be dened by proving that they
are antiderivatives of other functions. The arcsine, for
7.1 Special values in trigonometric func- example, can be written as the following integral:
There are some commonly used special values in trigono- arcsin z = dx, |z| < 1.
metric functions, as shown in the following table. 0 1 x2
Analogous formulas for the other functions can be found

at inverse

functions. Using the complex
Radian 0 12 8 6 4logarithm,
3 one can
12 generalize
2 all these functions to com-
Degree 0 15 22.5 30 45plex

arguments:75 90

6 2 2 2 1 2 3 6+ 2
sin 0 4 2 2 2 2 4 1

6+ 2 2+ 2 3 2 1 6 2 ( )
cos 1 4 4 iz +0 1 z 2 ,
2 z = i log
2 2
2 arcsin
tan 0 2 3 21 3
1 3 2 + 3( )
3z = i log z + 21 ,
cot 2+ 3 2 + 1 3 1 arccos 2 3 0 z
sec 1 6 2 22 2 2 3 3 2 2 16 + (21 iz
log 2 1
csc 6+ 2 2 2+ 2 2 2 2 3 3z = 26i 1 + iz

8.1 Connection to the inner product

The symbol here represents the point at innity on the
projectively extended real line, the limit on the extended In an inner product space, the angle between two non-zero
real line is + on one side and - on the other. vectors is dened to be
9.2 Law of cosines 11

9.2 Law of cosines

x, y
angle(x, y) = arccos . The law of cosines (also known as the cosine formula or
x y
cosine rule) is an extension of the Pythagorean theorem:

9 Properties and applications

c2 = a2 + b2 2ab cos C,
Main article: Uses of trigonometry
or equivalently,

The trigonometric functions, as the name suggests, are

of crucial importance in trigonometry, mainly because of a2 + b2 c2
the following two results. cos C = .
In this formula the angle at C is opposite to the side c.
9.1 Law of sines This theorem can be proven by dividing the triangle into
two right ones and using the Pythagorean theorem.
The law of sines states that for an arbitrary triangle with
The law of cosines can be used to determine a side of
sides a, b, and c and angles opposite those sides A, B and
a triangle if two sides and the angle between them are
known. It can also be used to nd the cosines of an angle
(and consequently the angles themselves) if the lengths of
sin A sin B sin C 2 all the sides are known.
= = = ,
a b c abc
where is the area of the triangle, or, equivalently,
9.3 Law of tangents

a b c Main article: Law of tangents

= = = 2R,
sin A sin B sin C
where R is the triangles circumradius. The following all form the law of tangents[19]

tan ab tan ac tan b
2 = ; 2 = ; 2 =
A+B a+b A+C a+c B+C b+
tan tan tan
2 2 2
The explanation of the formulae in words would be cum-
bersome, but the patterns of sums and dierences, for the
lengths and corresponding opposite angles, are apparent
in the theorem.

9.4 Law of cotangents

Main article: Law of cotangents


A Lissajous curve, a gure formed with a trigonometry-based

function. = (s a)(s b)(s c)
It can be proven by dividing the triangle into two right and
ones and using the above denition of sine. The law of
sines is useful for computing the lengths of the unknown
sides in a triangle if two angles and one side are known. a+b+c
This is a common situation occurring in triangulation, a s = 2
technique to determine unknown distances by measuring
two angles and an accessible enclosed distance. then the following all form the law of cotangents[20]

A sa B sb C sc
cot = ; cot = ; cot =
2 2 2
It follows that

cot cot cot
2 = 2 = 2.
sa sb sc
In words the theorem is: the cotangent of a half-angle
equals the ratio of the semi-perimeter minus the opposite
side to the said angle, to the inradius for the triangle.

9.5 Periodic functions

Sinusoidal basis functions (bottom) can form a sawtooth wave

(top) when added. All the basis functions have nodes at the nodes
of the sawtooth, and all but the fundamental (k = 1) have addi-
An animation of the additive synthesis of a square wave with an tional nodes. The oscillation seen about the sawtooth when k is
increasing number of harmonics large is called the Gibbs phenomenon

The trigonometric functions are also important in physics.

In the animation of a square wave at top right it can be
The sine and the cosine functions, for example, are used
seen that just a few terms already produce a fairly good
to describe simple harmonic motion, which models many
approximation. The superposition of several terms in the
natural phenomena, such as the movement of a mass at-
expansion of a sawtooth wave are shown underneath.
tached to a spring and, for small angles, the pendular mo-
tion of a mass hanging by a string. The sine and cosine
functions are one-dimensional projections of uniform cir-
cular motion. 10 History
Trigonometric functions also prove to be useful in the
study of general periodic functions. The characteristic Main article: History of trigonometric functions
wave patterns of periodic functions are useful for model-
ing recurring phenomena such as sound or light waves.[21]
While the early study of trigonometry can be traced to
Under rather general conditions, a periodic function f(x) antiquity, the trigonometric functions as they are in use
can be expressed as a sum of sine waves or cosine waves today were developed in the medieval period. The chord
in a Fourier series.[22] Denoting the sine or cosine basis function was discovered by Hipparchus of Nicaea (180
functions by , the expansion of the periodic function 125 BC) and Ptolemy of Roman Egypt (90165 AD).
f(t) takes the form:
The functions sine and cosine can be traced to the jy
and koti-jy functions used in Gupta period Indian astron-
omy (Aryabhatiya, Surya Siddhanta), via translation from
f (t) = ck k (t). Sanskrit to Arabic and then from Arabic to Latin.[23]
All six trigonometric functions in current use were known
For example, the square wave can be written as the in Islamic mathematics by the 9th century, as was the law
Fourier series of sines, used in solving triangles.[24] al-Khwrizm pro-
duced tables of sines, cosines and tangents. They were
( ) studied by authors including Omar Khayym, Bhskara
4 sin (2k 1)t II, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Jamshd al-Ksh (14th cen-
fsquare (t) = .
2k 1 tury), Ulugh Beg (14th century), Regiomontanus (1464),

Rheticus, and Rheticus student Valentinus Otho. 12 See also

Madhava of Sangamagrama (c. 1400) made early strides
in the analysis of trigonometric functions in terms of All Students Take Calculus a mnemonic for re-
innite series.[25] calling the signs of trigonometric functions in a par-
ticular quadrant of a Cartesian plane
The terms tangent and secant were rst introduced in
1583 by the Danish mathematician Thomas Fincke in his Aryabhatas sine table
book Geometria rotundi.[26]
Bhaskara Is sine approximation formula
The rst published use of the abbreviations sin, cos, and
tan is by the 16th century French mathematician Albert Generalized trigonometry
Generating trigonometric tables
In a paper published in 1682, Leibniz proved that sin x is
not an algebraic function of x.[27] Hyperbolic function
Leonhard Euler's Introductio in analysin innitorum List of periodic functions
(1748) was mostly responsible for establishing the ana-
lytic treatment of trigonometric functions in Europe, also List of trigonometric identities
dening them as innite series and presenting "Eulers Madhava series
formula", as well as the near-modern abbreviations sin.,
cos., tang., cot., sec., and cosec.[28] Madhavas sine table
A few functions were common historically, but are now Polar sine a generalization to vertex angles
seldom used, such as the chord (crd() = 2 sin(/2)),
the versine (versin() = 1 cos() = 2 sin2 (/2)) Proofs of trigonometric identities
(which appeared in the earliest tables[28] ), the haversine
Versine for several less used trigonometric func-
(haversin() = 1/2versin() = sin2 (/2)), the exsecant
(exsec() = sec() 1) and the excosecant (excsc()
= exsec(/2 ) = csc() 1). Many more relations
between these functions are listed in the article about
trigonometric identities. 13 Notes
[1] Oxford English Dictionary, sine, n.2

[2] Oxford English Dictionary, cosine, n.

11 Etymology [3] Oxford English Dictionary, tangent, adj. and n.

[4] Oxford English Dictionary, secant, adj. and n.

The word sine derives[29] from Latin sinus, meaning
bend; bay, and more specically the hanging fold of [5] Heng, Cheng and Talbert, Additional Mathematics,
the upper part of a toga", the bosom of a garment, page 228
which was chosen as the translation of what was in-
[6] Ron Larson, Ron (2013). Trigonometry (9th ed.). Cen-
terpreted as the Arabic word jaib, meaning pocket gage Learning. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-285-60718-4.
or fold in the twelfth-century translations of works Extract of page 153
by Al-Battani and al-Khwrizm into Medieval Latin.[30]
The choice was based on a misreading of the Arabic [7] See Ahlfors, pages 4344.
written form j-y-b (), which itself originated as a
[8] Abramowitz; Weisstein.
transliteration from Sanskrit jv, which along with its
synonym jy (the standard Sanskrit term for the sine) [9] Stanley, Enumerative Combinatorics, Vol I., page 149
translates to bowstring, being in turn adopted from
[10] Aigner, Martin; Ziegler, Gnter M. (2000). Proofs from
Ancient Greek string.[31]
THE BOOK (Second ed.). Springer-Verlag. p. 149. ISBN
The word tangent comes from Latin tangens meaning 978-3-642-00855-9.
touching, since the line touches the circle of unit radius,
[11] Remmert, Reinhold (1991). Theory of complex functions.
whereas secant stems from Latin secans cutting
Springer. p. 327. ISBN 0-387-97195-5. Extract of page
since the line cuts the circle.[32]
The prex co-" (in cosine, cotangent, cosecant) is
found in Edmund Gunter's Canon triangulorum (1620), [12] For a demonstration, see Eulers formula#Using power se-
which denes the cosinus as an abbreviation for the si-
nus complementi (sine of the complementary angle) and [13] Needham, Tristan. Visual Complex Analysis. ISBN 0-19-
proceeds to dene the cotangens similarly.[33] 853446-9.

[14] Kannappan, Palaniappan (2009). Functional Equations Robert of Chester's 1145 translation of the tables of
and Inequalities with Applications. Springer. ISBN 978- al-Khwrizm
See Merlet, A Note on the History of the Trigonometric
[15] Kantabutra. Functions in Ceccarelli (ed.), International Symposium on
History of Machines and Mechanisms, Springer, 2004
[16] However, doing that while maintaining precision is non- See Maor (1998), chapter 3, for an earlier etymology
trivial, and methods like Gals accurate tables, Cody and crediting Gerard.
Waite reduction, and Payne and Hanek reduction algo- See Katx, Victor (July 2008). A history of mathematics
rithms can be used. (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson. p. 210 (sidebar). ISBN 978-
[17] Brent, Richard P. (April 1976). Fast Multiple-Precision
Evaluation of Elementary Functions. J. ACM. 23 (2): [31] See Plofker, Mathematics in India, Princeton University
242251. doi:10.1145/321941.321944. ISSN 0004- Press, 2009, p. 257
5411. See Clark University.
See Maor (1998), chapter 3, regarding the etymology.
[18] Abramowitz, Milton and Irene A. Stegun, p.74
[32] Oxford English Dictionary
[19] The Universal Encyclopaedia of Mathematics, Pan Ref-
erence Books, 1976, page 529. English version George [33] OED. The text of the Canon triangulorum as recon-
Allen and Unwin, 1964. Translated from the German ver- structed may be found here
sion Meyers Rechenduden, 1960.

[20] The Universal Encyclopaedia of Mathematics, Pan Ref-

erence Books, 1976, page 530. English version George 14 References
Allen and Unwin, 1964. Translated from the German ver-
sion Meyers Rechenduden, 1960. Abramowitz, Milton and Irene A. Stegun,
[21] Stanley J Farlow (1993). Partial dierential equations Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formu-
for scientists and engineers (Reprint of Wiley 1982 ed.). las, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables, Dover, New
Courier Dover Publications. p. 82. ISBN 0-486-67620- York. (1964). ISBN 0-486-61272-4.
Lars Ahlfors, Complex Analysis: an introduction to
[22] See for example, Gerald B Folland (2009). Convergence the theory of analytic functions of one complex vari-
and completeness. Fourier Analysis and its Applications able, second edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company,
(Reprint of Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole 1992 ed.). Ameri- New York, 1966.
can Mathematical Society. pp. 77. ISBN 0-8218-4790-
2. Boyer, Carl B., A History of Mathematics, John Wi-
ley & Sons, Inc., 2nd edition. (1991). ISBN 0-471-
[23] Boyer, Carl B. (1991). A History of Mathematics (Second 54397-7.
ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0-471-54397-7, p.
210. Gal, Shmuel and Bachelis, Boris. An accurate ele-
mentary mathematical library for the IEEE oating
[24] Owen Gingerich (1986). Islamic Astronomy. 254. Sci-
entic American: 74. Archived from the original on point standard, ACM Transactions on Mathematical
2013-10-19. Retrieved 2010-07-13. Software (1991).

[25] J J O'Connor and E F Robertson. Madhava of Sangama- Joseph, George G., The Crest of the Peacock: Non-
grama. School of Mathematics and Statistics University European Roots of Mathematics, 2nd ed. Penguin
of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 2007-09-08. Books, London. (2000). ISBN 0-691-00659-8.
[26] Fincke biography. Retrieved 15 March 2017. Kantabutra, Vitit, On hardware for computing ex-
ponential and trigonometric functions, IEEE Trans.
[27] Nicols Bourbaki (1994). Elements of the History of
Computers 45 (3), 328339 (1996).
Mathematics. Springer.
Maor, Eli, Trigonometric Delights, Princeton Univ.
[28] See Boyer (1991).
Press. (1998). Reprint edition (February 25, 2002):
[29] The anglicized form is rst recorded in 1593 in Thomas ISBN 0-691-09541-8.
Fale's Horologiographia, the Art of Dialling.
Needham, Tristan, Preface" to Visual Complex
[30] various sources credit the rst use of sinus to either Analysis. Oxford University Press, (1999). ISBN
Plato Tiburtinus's 1116 translation of the Astron-
omy of Al-Battani O'Connor, J.J., and E.F. Robertson, Trigonometric
Gerard of Cremona's translation of the Algebra of functions, MacTutor History of Mathematics
al-Khwrizm archive. (1996).

O'Connor, J.J., and E.F. Robertson, Madhava of

Sangamagramma, MacTutor History of Mathemat-
ics archive. (2000).

Pearce, Ian G., Madhava of Sangamagramma,

MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. (2002).

Weisstein, Eric W., Tangent from MathWorld, ac-

cessed 21 January 2006.

15 External links
Hazewinkel, Michiel, ed. (2001), Trigonometric
functions, Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer,
ISBN 978-1-55608-010-4

Visionlearning Module on Wave Mathematics

GonioLab Visualization of the unit circle, trigono-
metric and hyperbolic functions

16 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

16.1 Text

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16.2 Images 17

16.2 Images
File:Academ_Base_of_trigonometry.svg Source:
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