1. Angles

This article uses Greek letters such as alpha (α), beta (β), gamma (γ), and theta (θ) to represent angles. Several different units of angle measure are widely used, including degrees, radians, and gradians (gons):

1 full circle (turn) = 360 degrees = 2π radians = 400 gons.

The following table shows the conversions and values for some common angles:

Results for other angles can be found at Trigonometric constants expressed in real radicals.

Unless otherwise specified, all angles in this article are assumed to be in radians, but angles ending in a degree symbol (°) are in degrees. Per Niven's theorem multiples of 30° are the only angles that are a rational multiple of one degree and also have a rational sine or cosine, which may account for their popularity in examples.

2. Trigonometric functions

The primary trigonometric functions are the sine and cosine of an angle. These are sometimes abbreviated sin(θ) and cos(θ), respectively, where θ is the angle, but the parentheses around the angle are often omitted, e.g., sin θ and cos θ.

The sine of an angle is defined in the context of a right triangle, as the ratio of the length of the side that is opposite to the angle divided by the length of the longest side of the triangle (the hypotenuse).

The cosine of an angle is also defined in the context of a right triangle, as the ratio of the length of the side that is adjacent to the angle divided by the length of the longest side of the triangle (the hypotenuse).

The tangent (tan) of an angle is the ratio of the sine to the cosine:

Finally, the reciprocal functions secant (sec), cosecant (csc), and cotangent (cot) are the reciprocals of the cosine, sine, and tangent:

These definitions are sometimes referred to as ratio identities

3. Inverse functions

Main article: Inverse trigonometric functions

The inverse trigonometric functions are partial inverse functions for the trigonometric functions. For example, the inverse function for the sine, known as the inverse sine (sin^−1) or arcsine (arcsin or asin), satisfies

4. Pythagorean identity

In trigonometry, the basic relationship between the sine and the cosine is known as the Pythagorean identity:
where cos2 θ means (cos(θ))2 and sin2 θ means (sin(θ))2.
This can be viewed as a version of the Pythagorean theorem, and follows from the equation x2 + y2 = 1 for the unit circle. This equation can be solved for either the sine or the cosine:
where the sign depends on the quadrant of θ.

Related identities

Dividing the Pythagorean identity by either cos2 θ or sin2 θ yields two other identities:
Using these identities together with the ratio identities, it is possible to express any trigonometric function in terms of any other (up to a plus or minus sign):

Each trigonometric function in terms of the other five

5. Historical shorthands

The versine, coversine, haversine, and exsecant were used in navigation. For example, the haversine formula was used to calculate the distance between two points on a sphere. They are rarely used today.

6. Symmetry, shifts, and periodicity

By examining the unit circle, the following properties of the trigonometric functions can be established.


When the trigonometric functions are reflected from certain angles, the result is often one of the other trigonometric functions. This leads to the following identities:

Note that the sign in front of the trig function does not necessarily indicate the sign of the value. For example, +cos θ does not always mean that cos θ is positive. In particular, if θ = π, then +cos θ = −1.

Shifts and periodicity

By shifting the function round by certain angles, it is often possible to find different trigonometric functions that express particular results more simply. Some examples of this are shown by shifting functions round by π/2π and 2π radians. Because the periods of these functions are either π or 2π, there are cases where the new function is exactly the same as the old function without the shift.

7. Angle sum and difference identities

These are also known as the addition and subtraction theorems or formulae. The identities can be derived by combining right triangles such as in the adjacent diagram, or by considering the invariance of the length of a chord on a unit circle given a particular central angle. Furthermore, it is even possible to derive the identities using Euler's identity although this would be a more obscure approach given that complex numbers are used.

For the angle addition diagram for the sine and cosine, the line in bold with the 1 on it is of length 1. It is the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle with angle β which gives the sin β and cos β. The cos β line is the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle with angle α so it has sides sin α and cos α both multiplied by cos β. This is the same for the sin β line. The original line is also the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle with angle α + β, the opposite side is the sin(α + β) line up from the origin and the adjacent side is the cos(α + β) segment going horizontally from the top left.
Overall the diagram can be used to show the sine and cosine of sum identities
because the opposite sides of the rectangle are equal.

Matrix form

The sum and difference formulae for sine and cosine can be written in matrix form as:

This shows that these matrices form a representation of the rotation group in the plane (technically, the special orthogonal group SO(2)), since the composition law is fulfilled: subsequent multiplications of a vector with these two matrices yields the same result as the rotation by the sum of the angles.

Sines and cosines of sums of infinitely many terms

In these two identities an asymmetry appears that is not seen in the case of sums of finitely many terms: in each product, there are only finitely many sine factors and cofinitely many cosine factors.
If only finitely many of the terms θi are nonzero, then only finitely many of the terms on the right side will be nonzero because sine factors will vanish, and in each term, all but finitely many of the cosine factors will be unity.

Tangents of sums

Let ek (for k = 0, 1, 2, 3, ...) be the kth-degree elementary symmetric polynomial in the variables

The number of terms on the right side depends on the number of terms on the left side.
For example:

and so on. The case of only finitely many terms can be proved by mathematical induction.

Secants and cosecants of sums

where ek is the kth-degree elementary symmetric polynomial in the n variables xi = tan θii = 1, ..., n, and the number of terms in the denominator and the number of factors in the product in the numerator depend on the number of terms in the sum on the left. The case of only finitely many terms can be proved by mathematical induction on the number of such terms. The convergence of the series in the denominators can be shown by writing the secant identity in the form
and then observing that the left side converges if the right side converges, and similarly for the cosecant identity.
For example,

8. Multiple-angle formulae

Multiple-angle formulae

Double-angle, triple-angle, and half-angle formulae

Double-angle formulae

Triple-angle formulae

Half-angle formulae


* Table

These can be shown by using either the sum and difference identities or the multiple-angle formulae.

The fact that the triple-angle formula for sine and cosine only involves powers of a single function allows one to relate the geometric problem of a compass and straightedge construction of angle trisection to the algebraic problem of solving a cubic equation, which allows one to prove that trisection is in general impossible using the given tools, by field theory.
A formula for computing the trigonometric identities for the one-third angle exists, but it requires finding the zeroes of the cubic equation 4x3 − 3x + d = 0, where x is the value of the cosine function at the one-third angle and d is the known value of the cosine function at the full angle. However, the discriminant of this equation is positive, so this equation has three real roots (of which only one is the solution for the cosine of the one-third angle). None of these solutions is reducible to a real algebraic expression, as they use intermediate complex numbers under the cube roots.

Sine, cosine, and tangent of multiple angles

For specific multiples, these follow from the angle addition formulas, while the general formula was given by 16th-century French mathematician François Viète.
In each of these two equations, the first parenthesized term is a binomial coefficient, and the final trigonometric function equals one or minus one or zero so that half the entries in each of the sums are removed. tan  can be written in terms of tan θ using the recurrence relation:
cot  can be written in terms of cot θ using the recurrence relation:

Chebyshev method

The Chebyshev method is a recursive algorithm for finding the nth multiple angle formula knowing the (n − 1)th and (n − 2)th formulae.
cos(nx) can be computed from the cosine of (n − 1)x and (n − 2)x as follows:
Similarly sin(nx) can be computed from the sines of (n − 1)x and (n − 2)x
For the tangent, we have:
where H/K = tan(n − 1)x.

Tangent of an average

Setting either α or β to 0 gives the usual tangent half-angle formulae.

Viète's infinite product

(Refer to sinc function.)

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