Tag Archives: Meanings

Lessons: Rectangles Include Squares

I am a word nerd. When words have very specific meanings and are not used correctly, or are used ambiguously, I react.

For example, a rectangle is a four-sided shape with all four interior angles measuring 90°. In other words, with all four corners as right angles. Opposite sides are parallel and the same length.

A square is a special type of rectangle. The difference is that squares have all four sides the same length.

The problem occurs in using the word “rectangle” to mean “non-square rectangle.” Rectangles include squares. So to be accurate, I would always need to amend it by saying “non-square rectangles” if I mean “non-square rectangles.” Correct, but awkward, huh?

So the solution is to be incorrect, at least a lot of the time. It will make my skin crawl, but when I use the term “rectangle,” generally I will mean “non-square rectangle.”

Questions? Comments? Do you have pet word peeves? (Please reassure me that I’m not alone in this!)