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In our maths class recently the subject of angles arose with some arguing that where the 2 lines meet is the vertex or apex. Is this so? Are the terms interchangeable? Can a 2D shape have an apex e.g. triangle? Could you clarify the terms vertex and apex please especially in relation to angles?

Jane

Hi Jane!

A vertex is the intersection point of two lines.

An apex is a "summit point" which may or may not be a vertex. The point of a cone is not a vertex, but it is an apex. The top vertex of a pyramid (the one not on the base) can be referred to as an apex, but need not. A 2D shape can have an apex, although it is never necessary to call it so. For instance, the vertex of an isosceles triangle where the two equal sides intersect can be called the apex.

In closing, vertices and apices are not interchangeable terms. Sometimes a vertex is also an apex, but usually not. Personally, I only use the term apex when talking about a point that is certainly not a vertex, such as the apex of a cone.

Cheers,

Azeem

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