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Line DE bisects line AB at D, line EF is a perpendicular bisector of segment AD at C, and line EF is the interior bisector of right angle AED Bisectors.svg
Line DE bisects line AB at D, line EF is a perpendicular bisector of segment AD at C, and line EF is the interior bisector of right angle AED

In geometry, bisection is the division of something into two equal or congruent parts, usually by a line, which is then called a bisector. The most often considered types of bisectors are the segment bisector (a line that passes through the midpoint of a given segment) and the angle bisector (a line that passes through the apex of an angle, that divides it into two equal angles).


In three-dimensional space, bisection is usually done by a plane, also called the bisector or bisecting plane.

Line segment bisector

Perpendicular Bisector Perpendicular Bisector.gif
Perpendicular Bisector

A line segment bisector passes through the midpoint of the segment. Particularly important is the perpendicular bisector of a segment, which, according to its name, meets the segment at right angles. The perpendicular bisector of a segment also has the property that each of its points is equidistant from the segment's endpoints. Therefore, Voronoi diagram boundaries consist of segments of such lines or planes.

In classical geometry, the bisection is a simple compass and straightedge construction, whose possibility depends on the ability to draw circles of equal radii and different centers. The segment is bisected by drawing intersecting circles of equal radius, whose centers are the endpoints of the segment and such that each circle goes through one endpoint. The line determined by the points of intersection of the two circles is the perpendicular bisector of the segment, since it crosses the segment at its center. This construction is in fact used when constructing a line perpendicular to a given line at a given point: drawing an arbitrary circle whose center is that point, it intersects the line in two more points, and the perpendicular to be constructed is the one bisecting the segment defined by these two points.

Brahmagupta's theorem states that if a cyclic quadrilateral is orthodiagonal (that is, has perpendicular diagonals), then the perpendicular to a side from the point of intersection of the diagonals always bisects the opposite side.

Algebraically, the perpendicular bisector of a line segment with endpoints and is given by the equation

, where , , and .

Angle bisector

Bisection of an angle using a compass and straightedge Bisection construction.gif
Bisection of an angle using a compass and straightedge

An angle bisector divides the angle into two angles with equal measures. An angle only has one bisector. Each point of an angle bisector is equidistant from the sides of the angle.

The interior or internal bisector of an angle is the line, half-line, or line segment that divides an angle of less than 180° into two equal angles. The exterior or external bisector is the line that divides the supplementary angle (of 180° minus the original angle), formed by one side forming the original angle and the extension of the other side, into two equal angles. [1]

To bisect an angle with straightedge and compass, one draws a circle whose center is the vertex. The circle meets the angle at two points: one on each leg. Using each of these points as a center, draw two circles of the same size. The intersection of the circles (two points) determines a line that is the angle bisector.

The proof of the correctness of this construction is fairly intuitive, relying on the symmetry of the problem. The trisection of an angle (dividing it into three equal parts) cannot be achieved with the compass and ruler alone (this was first proved by Pierre Wantzel).

The internal and external bisectors of an angle are perpendicular. If the angle is formed by the two lines given algebraically as and then the internal and external bisectors are given by the two equations [2] :p.15



Concurrencies and collinearities

The interior angle bisectors of a triangle are concurrent in a point called the incenter of the triangle, as seen in the diagram at right.

The bisectors of two exterior angles and the bisector of the other interior angle are concurrent. [3] :p.149

Three intersection points, each of an external angle bisector with the opposite extended side, are collinear (fall on the same line as each other). [3] :p. 149

Three intersection points, two of them between an interior angle bisector and the opposite side, and the third between the other exterior angle bisector and the opposite side extended, are collinear. [3] :p. 149

Angle bisector theorem

In this diagram, BD:DC = AB:AC. Triangle ABC with bisector AD.svg
In this diagram, BD:DC = AB:AC.

The angle bisector theorem is concerned with the relative lengths of the two segments that a triangle's side is divided into by a line that bisects the opposite angle. It equates their relative lengths to the relative lengths of the other two sides of the triangle.


If the side lengths of a triangle are , the semiperimeter and A is the angle opposite side , then the length of the internal bisector of angle A is [3] :p. 70

or in trigonometric terms, [4]

If the internal bisector of angle A in triangle ABC has length and if this bisector divides the side opposite A into segments of lengths m and n, then [3] :p.70

where b and c are the side lengths opposite vertices B and C; and the side opposite A is divided in the proportion b:c.

If the internal bisectors of angles A, B, and C have lengths and , then [5]

No two non-congruent triangles share the same set of three internal angle bisector lengths. [6] [7]

Integer triangles

There exist integer triangles with a rational angle bisector.


The internal angle bisectors of a convex quadrilateral either form a cyclic quadrilateral (that is, the four intersection points of adjacent angle bisectors are concyclic), [8] or they are concurrent. In the latter case the quadrilateral is a tangential quadrilateral.


Each diagonal of a rhombus bisects opposite angles.

Ex-tangential quadrilateral

The excenter of an ex-tangential quadrilateral lies at the intersection of six angle bisectors. These are the internal angle bisectors at two opposite vertex angles, the external angle bisectors (supplementary angle bisectors) at the other two vertex angles, and the external angle bisectors at the angles formed where the extensions of opposite sides intersect.


The tangent to a parabola at any point bisects the angle between the line joining the point to the focus and the line from the point and perpendicular to the directrix.

Bisectors of the sides of a polygon



Each of the three medians of a triangle is a line segment going through one vertex and the midpoint of the opposite side, so it bisects that side (though not in general perpendicularly). The three medians intersect each other at a point which is called the centroid of the triangle, which is its center of mass if it has uniform density; thus any line through a triangle's centroid and one of its vertices bisects the opposite side. The centroid is twice as close to the midpoint of any one side as it is to the opposite vertex.

Perpendicular bisectors

The interior perpendicular bisector of a side of a triangle is the segment, falling entirely on and inside the triangle, of the line that perpendicularly bisects that side. The three perpendicular bisectors of a triangle's three sides intersect at the circumcenter (the center of the circle through the three vertices). Thus any line through a triangle's circumcenter and perpendicular to a side bisects that side.

In an acute triangle the circumcenter divides the interior perpendicular bisectors of the two shortest sides in equal proportions. In an obtuse triangle the two shortest sides' perpendicular bisectors (extended beyond their opposite triangle sides to the circumcenter) are divided by their respective intersecting triangle sides in equal proportions. [9] :Corollaries 5 and 6

For any triangle the interior perpendicular bisectors are given by and where the sides are and the area is [9] :Thm 2


The two bimedians of a convex quadrilateral are the line segments that connect the midpoints of opposite sides, hence each bisecting two sides. The two bimedians and the line segment joining the midpoints of the diagonals are concurrent at a point called the "vertex centroid" and are all bisected by this point. [10] :p.125

The four "maltitudes" of a convex quadrilateral are the perpendiculars to a side through the midpoint of the opposite side, hence bisecting the latter side. If the quadrilateral is cyclic (inscribed in a circle), these maltitudes are concurrent at (all meet at) a common point called the "anticenter".

Brahmagupta's theorem states that if a cyclic quadrilateral is orthodiagonal (that is, has perpendicular diagonals), then the perpendicular to a side from the point of intersection of the diagonals always bisects the opposite side.

The perpendicular bisector construction forms a quadrilateral from the perpendicular bisectors of the sides of another quadrilateral.

Area bisectors and perimeter bisectors


There are an infinitude of lines that bisect the area of a triangle. Three of them are the medians of the triangle (which connect the sides' midpoints with the opposite vertices), and these are concurrent at the triangle's centroid; indeed, they are the only area bisectors that go through the centroid. Three other area bisectors are parallel to the triangle's sides; each of these intersects the other two sides so as to divide them into segments with the proportions . [11] These six lines are concurrent three at a time: in addition to the three medians being concurrent, any one median is concurrent with two of the side-parallel area bisectors.

The envelope of the infinitude of area bisectors is a deltoid (broadly defined as a figure with three vertices connected by curves that are concave to the exterior of the deltoid, making the interior points a non-convex set). [11] The vertices of the deltoid are at the midpoints of the medians; all points inside the deltoid are on three different area bisectors, while all points outside it are on just one. The sides of the deltoid are arcs of hyperbolas that are asymptotic to the extended sides of the triangle. [11] The ratio of the area of the envelope of area bisectors to the area of the triangle is invariant for all triangles, and equals i.e. 0.019860... or less than 2%.

A cleaver of a triangle is a line segment that bisects the perimeter of the triangle and has one endpoint at the midpoint of one of the three sides. The three cleavers concur at (all pass through) the center of the Spieker circle, which is the incircle of the medial triangle. The cleavers are parallel to the angle bisectors.

A splitter of a triangle is a line segment having one endpoint at one of the three vertices of the triangle and bisecting the perimeter. The three splitters concur at the Nagel point of the triangle.

Any line through a triangle that splits both the triangle's area and its perimeter in half goes through the triangle's incenter (the center of its incircle). There are either one, two, or three of these for any given triangle. A line through the incenter bisects one of the area or perimeter if and only if it also bisects the other. [12]


Any line through the midpoint of a parallelogram bisects the area [13] and the perimeter.

Circle and ellipse

All area bisectors and perimeter bisectors of a circle or other ellipse go through the center, and any chords through the center bisect the area and perimeter. In the case of a circle they are the diameters of the circle.

Bisectors of diagonals


The diagonals of a parallelogram bisect each other.


If a line segment connecting the diagonals of a quadrilateral bisects both diagonals, then this line segment (the Newton Line) is itself bisected by the vertex centroid.

Volume bisectors

A plane that divides two opposite edges of a tetrahedron in a given ratio also divides the volume of the tetrahedron in the same ratio. Thus any plane containing a bimedian (connector of opposite edges' midpoints) of a tetrahedron bisects the volume of the tetrahedron [14] [15] :pp.89–90

Related Research Articles

Quadrilateral polygon with four sides and four corners

A quadrilateral is a polygon in Euclidean plane geometry with four edges (sides) and four vertices (corners). Other names for quadrilateral include quadrangle, tetragon, and 4-gon. A quadrilateral with vertices , , and is sometimes denoted as .

Triangle Shape with three sides

A triangle is a polygon with three edges and three vertices. It is one of the basic shapes in geometry. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted .

Perpendicular Relationship between two lines that meet at a right angle (90 degrees)

In elementary geometry, the property of being perpendicular (perpendicularity) is the relationship between two lines which meet at a right angle. The property extends to other related geometric objects.

Parallelogram Quadrilateral with two pairs of parallel sides

In Euclidean geometry, a parallelogram is a simple (non-self-intersecting) quadrilateral with two pairs of parallel sides. The opposite or facing sides of a parallelogram are of equal length and the opposite angles of a parallelogram are of equal measure. The congruence of opposite sides and opposite angles is a direct consequence of the Euclidean parallel postulate and neither condition can be proven without appealing to the Euclidean parallel postulate or one of its equivalent formulations.

Rhombus Quadrilateral in which all sides have the same length

In plane Euclidean geometry, a rhombus is a quadrilateral whose four sides all have the same length. Another name is equilateral quadrilateral, since equilateral means that all of its sides are equal in length. The rhombus is often called a diamond, after the diamonds suit in playing cards which resembles the projection of an octahedral diamond, or a lozenge, though the former sometimes refers specifically to a rhombus with a 60° angle, and the latter sometimes refers specifically to a rhombus with a 45° angle.

Centroid Mean ("average") position of all the points in a shape

In mathematics and physics, the centroid or geometric center of a plane figure is the arithmetic mean position of all the points in the figure. Informally, it is the point at which a cutout of the shape could be perfectly balanced on the tip of a pin.

Cyclic quadrilateral Quadrilateral whose vertices can all fall on a single circle

In Euclidean geometry, a cyclic quadrilateral or inscribed quadrilateral is a quadrilateral whose vertices all lie on a single circle. This circle is called the circumcircle or circumscribed circle, and the vertices are said to be concyclic. The center of the circle and its radius are called the circumcenter and the circumradius respectively. Other names for these quadrilaterals are concyclic quadrilateral and chordal quadrilateral, the latter since the sides of the quadrilateral are chords of the circumcircle. Usually the quadrilateral is assumed to be convex, but there are also crossed cyclic quadrilaterals. The formulas and properties given below are valid in the convex case.

Trapezoid Convex quadrilateral with at least one pair of parallel sides

In Euclidean geometry, a convex quadrilateral with at least one pair of parallel sides is referred to as a trapezium in English outside North America, but as a trapezoid in American and Canadian English. The parallel sides are called the bases of the trapezoid and the other two sides are called the legs or the lateral sides. A scalene trapezoid is a trapezoid with no sides of equal measure, in contrast to the special cases below.

Euler line

In geometry, the Euler line, named after Leonhard Euler, is a line determined from any triangle that is not equilateral. It is a central line of the triangle, and it passes through several important points determined from the triangle, including the orthocenter, the circumcenter, the centroid, the Exeter point and the center of the nine-point circle of the triangle.


In geometry, the midpoint is the middle point of a line segment. It is equidistant from both endpoints, and it is the centroid both of the segment and of the endpoints. It bisects the segment.

Concyclic points

In geometry, a set of points are said to be concyclic if they lie on a common circle. All concyclic points are at the same distance from the center of the circle. Three points in the plane that do not all fall on a straight line are concyclic, but four or more such points in the plane are not necessarily concyclic.

Isosceles trapezoid Trapezoid symmetrical about an axis

In Euclidean geometry, an isosceles trapezoid is a convex quadrilateral with a line of symmetry bisecting one pair of opposite sides. It is a special case of a trapezoid. Alternatively, it can be defined as a trapezoid in which both legs and both base angles are of the same measure. Note that a non-rectangular parallelogram is not an isosceles trapezoid because of the second condition, or because it has no line of symmetry. In any isosceles trapezoid, two opposite sides are parallel, and the two other sides are of equal length. The diagonals are also of equal length. The base angles of an isosceles trapezoid are equal in measure.

Square Regular quadrilateral

In geometry, a square is a regular quadrilateral, which means that it has four equal sides and four equal angles. It can also be defined as a rectangle in which two adjacent sides have equal length. A square with vertices ABCD would be denoted ABCD.

Median (geometry)

In geometry, a median of a triangle is a line segment joining a vertex to the midpoint of the opposite side, thus bisecting that side. Every triangle has exactly three medians, one from each vertex, and they all intersect each other at the triangle's centroid. In the case of isosceles and equilateral triangles, a median bisects any angle at a vertex whose two adjacent sides are equal in length.

Lines in a plane or higher-dimensional space are said to be concurrent if they intersect at a single point.

In geometry, collinearity of a set of points is the property of their lying on a single line. A set of points with this property is said to be collinear. In greater generality, the term has been used for aligned objects, that is, things being "in a line" or "in a row".

Tangential quadrilateral

In Euclidean geometry, a tangential quadrilateral or circumscribed quadrilateral is a convex quadrilateral whose sides all can be tangent to a single circle within the quadrilateral. This circle is called the incircle of the quadrilateral or its inscribed circle, its center is the incenter and its radius is called the inradius. Since these quadrilaterals can be drawn surrounding or circumscribing their incircles, they have also been called circumscribable quadrilaterals, circumscribing quadrilaterals, and circumscriptible quadrilaterals. Tangential quadrilaterals are a special case of tangential polygons.

Varignons theorem The midpoints of the sides of an arbitrary quadrilateral form a parallelogram

Varignon's theorem is a statement in Euclidean geometry, that deals with the construction of a particular parallelogram, the Varignon parallelogram, from an arbitrary quadrilateral (quadrangle). It is named after Pierre Varignon, whose proof was published posthumously in 1731.

Line segment Part of a line that is bounded by two distinct end points; line with two endpoints

In geometry, a line segment is a part of a line that is bounded by two distinct end points, and contains every point on the line between its endpoints. A closed line segment includes both endpoints, while an open line segment excludes both endpoints; a half-open line segment includes exactly one of the endpoints. In geometry, a line segment is often denoted using a line above the symbols for the two endpoints.

Orthodiagonal quadrilateral

In Euclidean geometry, an orthodiagonal quadrilateral is a quadrilateral in which the diagonals cross at right angles. In other words, it is a four-sided figure in which the line segments between non-adjacent vertices are orthogonal (perpendicular) to each other.


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  2. Spain, Barry. Analytical Conics, Dover Publications, 2007 (orig. 1957).
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  5. Simons, Stuart. Mathematical Gazette 93, March 2009, 115-116.
  6. Mironescu, P., and Panaitopol, L., "The existence of a triangle with prescribed angle bisector lengths", American Mathematical Monthly 101 (1994): 58–60.
  7. Oxman, Victor, "A purely geometric proof of the uniqueness of a triangle with prescribed angle bisectors", Forum Geometricorum 8 (2008): 197–200.
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  14. Weisstein, Eric W. "Tetrahedron." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.
  15. Altshiller-Court, N. "The tetrahedron." Ch. 4 in Modern Pure Solid Geometry: Chelsea, 1979.

This article incorporates material from Angle bisector on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.