Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A quadrilateral having no parallel sides.
  • noun Chiefly British A trapezoid.
  • noun Anatomy A bone in the wrist at the base of the thumb.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In geometry, a plane figure contained by four straight lines of which no two are parallel.
  • noun In anatomy:
  • noun A cross-band of fibers near the lower border of the pons Varolii, passing from the region of the accessory auditory nucleus to the raphe.
  • noun The bone on the radial side of the distal row of carpal bones, articulating with the metacarpal bone of the thumb; carpale I. of the typical carpus, whatever its actual shape. Also called multangulum majus. See cuts under Perissodactyla, scapholunar, and hand.
  • noun In geometry: Any quadrilateral not a parallelogram. A trapezoid.
  • noun An irregular quadrangle in the nebula of Orion, formed by its four brightest stars.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Geom.) A plane figure bounded by four right lines, of which no two are parallel.
  • noun A bone of the carpus at the base of the first metacarpal, or thumb.
  • noun A region on the ventral side of the brain, either just back of the pons Varolii, or, as in man, covered by the posterior extension of its transverse fibers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun geometry, UK A four-sided polygon with two sides parallel; a trapezoid (modern sense)
  • noun geometry, US A four-sided polygon with no parallel sides and no sides equal; a simple convex irregular quadrilateral.
  • noun A bone of the carpus at the base of the first metacarpal, or thumb.
  • noun A region on the ventral side of the brain, either just back of the pons Varolii, or, as in man, covered by the posterior extension of its transverse fibers.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a quadrilateral with no parallel sides
  • noun the wrist bone on the thumb side of the hand that articulates with the 1st and 2nd metacarpals
  • noun a multiple star in the constellation of Orion

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Originally, a quadrilateral with two parallel sides (later confused with trapezoid, originally, a quadrilateral having no parallel sides), from Modern Latin trapezium, a quadrilateral with two parallel sides, from Late Greek trapezion, from Greek, diminutive of trapeza, table : tra-, four; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots + peza, foot; see ped- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since 1570, from Late Latin trapezium, from Ancient Greek τραπέζιον ("irregular quadrilateral", literally "a little table"), diminutive of τράπεζα ("table")", itself from τρά- ("four") + πέζα ("foot, edge").

Examples

  • Rosse himself writing to Professor Nichol, in 1846, "I may safely say there can be little, if any, doubt as to the resolvability of the nebula; -- all about the trapezium is a mass of stars, the rest of the nebula also abounding with stars, and exhibiting the characteristics of resolvability strongly marked."

    Half-hours with the Telescope Being a Popular Guide to the Use of the Telescope as a Means of Amusement and Instruction.

  • Orionis, also called the trapezium of Orion) is in itself the most striking multiple star in the whole heavens.

    The Story of the Heavens

  • But for better or worse, they thrived down here, especially in what is known as Cajun country, the geocultural trapezium whose points are New Orleans, Houma, Cameron, and Lafayette.

    Into the Story

  • But for better or worse, they thrived down here, especially in what is known as Cajun country, the geocultural trapezium whose points are New Orleans, Houma, Cameron, and Lafayette.

    Into the Story

  • But for better or worse, they thrived down here, especially in what is known as Cajun country, the geocultural trapezium whose points are New Orleans, Houma, Cameron, and Lafayette.

    Into the Story

  • But for better or worse, they thrived down here, especially in what is known as Cajun country, the geocultural trapezium whose points are New Orleans, Houma, Cameron, and Lafayette.

    Into the Story

  • I just borrowed it to refer to the shape of the basins in section -- cones with their apices cut off or a 3-sides-equal trapezium, exactly similar to the ones you see in the diagrams above, though it would be serrated because of the stairs.

    Tele-Hydrology

  • It was the size of — and as oddly shaped a trapezium as — a bad West Village studio.

    Fire Island, This Time

  • The remainder of the trapezium formed the garden, which was much lower than the level of the Rue Polonceau, which caused the walls to be very much higher on the inside than on the outside.

    Les Miserables

  • In this manner they crossed the inner trapezium of the barricade.

    Les Miserables

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