Euclidean geometry, a parallelogram is a
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.
By comparison, a quadrilateral with just one pair of parallel sides is a
trapezoid in American English or a trapezium in British English.
The three-dimensional counterpart of a parallelogram is a
The etymology (in Greek παραλληλ-όγραμμον, parallēl-ógrammon, a shape "of parallel lines") reflects the definition.
Rectangle – A parallelogram with four angles of equal size (right angles).
Rhombus – A parallelogram with four sides of equal length. Any parallelogram that is neither a rectangle nor a rhombus was traditionally called a
rhomboid but this term is not used in modern mathematics.
Square – A parallelogram with four sides of equal length and angles of equal size (right angles).
A parallelogram has
rotational symmetry of order 2 (through 180°) (or order 4 if a square). If it also has exactly two lines of
reflectional symmetry then it must be a rhombus or an oblong (a non-square rectangle). If it has four lines of reflectional symmetry, it is a
The perimeter of a parallelogram is 2(a + b) where a and b are the lengths of adjacent sides.
Unlike any other convex polygon, a parallelogram cannot be inscribed in any triangle with less than twice its area.
The centers of four squares all constructed either internally or externally on the sides of a parallelogram are the vertices of a square.
If two lines parallel to sides of a parallelogram are constructed
concurrent to a diagonal, then the parallelograms formed on opposite sides of that diagonal are equal in area.
The diagonals of a parallelogram divide it into four triangles of equal area.
A parallelogram can be rearranged into a rectangle with the same area.
A parallelogram with base b and height h can be divided into a
trapezoid and a
right triangle, and rearranged into a
rectangle, as shown in the figure to the left. This means that the
area of a parallelogram is the same as that of a rectangle with the same base and height:
The area of the parallelogram is the area of the blue region, which is the interior of the parallelogram
The base × height area formula can also be derived using the figure to the right. The area K of the parallelogram to the right (the blue area) is the total area of the rectangle less the area of the two orange triangles. The area of the rectangle is
and the area of a single triangle is
Therefore, the area of the parallelogram is
Another area formula, for two sides B and C and angle θ, is
The area of a parallelogram with sides B and C (B ≠ C) and angle at the intersection of the diagonals is given by
When the parallelogram is specified from the lengths B and C of two adjacent sides together with the length D1 of either diagonal, then the area can be found from
Heron's formula. Specifically it is
where and the leading factor 2 comes from the fact that the chosen diagonal divides the parallelogram into two congruent triangles.
Area in terms of Cartesian coordinates of vertices
Let vectors and let denote the matrix with elements of a and b. Then the area of the parallelogram generated by a and b is equal to .
Let vectors and let . Then the area of the parallelogram generated by a and b is equal to .
Let points . Then the area of the parallelogram with vertices at a, b and c is equivalent to the absolute value of the determinant of a matrix built using a, b and c as rows with the last column padded using ones as follows:
Proof that diagonals bisect each other
To prove that the diagonals of a parallelogram bisect each other, we will use
(alternate interior angles are equal in measure)
(alternate interior angles are equal in measure).
(since these are angles that a transversal makes with
parallel linesAB and DC).
Also, side AB is equal in length to side DC, since opposite sides of a parallelogram are equal in length.
Therefore, triangles ABE and CDE are congruent (ASA postulate, two corresponding angles and the included side).
Since the diagonals AC and BD divide each other into segments of equal length, the diagonals bisect each other.
Separately, since the diagonals AC and BD bisect each other at point E, point E is the midpoint of each diagonal.
Lattice of parallelograms
Parallelograms can tile the plane by translation. If edges are equal, or angles are right, the symmetry of the lattice is higher. These represent the four
Bravais lattices in 2 dimensions.
Bases of similar triangles are parallel to the blue diagonal.
Ditto for the red diagonal.
The base pairs form a parallelogram with half the area of the quadrilateral, Aq, as the sum of the areas of the four large triangles, Al is 2 Aq (each of the two pairs reconstructs the quadrilateral) while that of the small triangles, As is a quarter of Al (half linear dimensions yields quarter area), and the area of the parallelogram is Aq minus As.
automedian triangle is one whose
medians are in the same proportions as its sides (though in a different order). If ABC is an automedian triangle in which vertex A stands opposite the side a, G is the
centroid (where the three medians of ABC intersect), and AL is one of the extended medians of ABC with L lying on the circumcircle of ABC, then BGCL is a parallelogram.
midpoints of the sides of an arbitrary quadrilateral are the vertices of a parallelogram, called its Varignon parallelogram. If the quadrilateral is
concave (that is, not self-intersecting), then the area of the Varignon parallelogram is half the area of the quadrilateral.
Tangent parallelogram of an ellipse
ellipse, two diameters are said to be
conjugate if and only if the
tangent line to the ellipse at an endpoint of one diameter is parallel to the other diameter. Each pair of conjugate diameters of an ellipse has a corresponding
tangent parallelogram, sometimes called a bounding parallelogram, formed by the tangent lines to the ellipse at the four endpoints of the conjugate diameters. All tangent parallelograms for a given ellipse have the same area.
It is possible to
reconstruct an ellipse from any pair of conjugate diameters, or from any tangent parallelogram.