A quadrilateral is a two-dimension structure having four sides. Thus, a rectangle and a trapezoid are also quadrilaterals with prominent differences.

One may get confused between the two terms, and questions like these may arise: What are the differences between their structures? Are both of them parallelograms?

## Key Takeaways

- Rectangles have four right angles and opposite sides of equal length, while trapezoids have only one pair of parallel sides.
- Rectangles have two pairs of equal opposite sides, while trapezoids do not.
- Rectangles have congruent diagonals, while trapezoids do not unless they are isosceles.

**Rectangle vs Trapezoid**

A rectangle is a four-sided polygon with four right angles and opposite sides that are parallel and congruent. Its diagonals are equal in length and bisect each other at right angles. A trapezoid is a four-sided polygon with only one pair of parallel sides. The other two sides are not parallel and may be of different lengths. A trapezoid has two angles that are acute and two obtuse angles.

**Want to save this article for later?** Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!

A rectangle is a quadrilateral with four right angles. The word rectangle is derived from the Latin ‘rectangulus’, which can be split into ‘rectus’, meaning right and ‘angulus’, meaning angle.

On the other hand, a trapezoid is a quadrilateral with a pair of parallel sides. The word trapezoid is derived from the Greek word ‘trapézion’, meaning a small table.

## Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison | Rectangle | Trapezoid |
---|---|---|

Definition | A rectangle is a four-sided parallelogram with four right angles and two pairs of parallel and equal opposite sides. | A trapezoid is a quadrilateral with parallel sides and intersecting diagonals. |

Derivation of the word | The word ‘rectangle’ is derived from the Latin ‘rectangulus’, which can be split into ‘rectus’, meaning right and ‘angulus’, meaning angle. | The word ‘trapezoid’ is derived from the Greek word ‘trapézion’, meaning a small table. |

Parallelogram | A rectangle is a parallelogram since it has two pairs of parallel sides. | A trapezoid is not a parallelogram. |

Opposite sides | The opposite sides of a rectangle are both parallel and equal in length. | A pair of opposite sides of a trapezoid are parallel. |

Diagonals | Diagonals in a rectangle tend to be equal and bisect each other. | Diagonals in a trapezoid need not be equal, but they intersect each other. |

Parallel sides | There are two parallel opposite sides in a rectangle. | There is only a pair of opposite parallel sides in a trapezoid. |

90° angles | There are four 90° angles in a rectangle. | There may or may not be 90° angles in a trapezoid. |

**What is Rectangle?**

A rectangle is a quadrilateral, i.e. a four-sided figure with two parallel and equal opposite sides. It contains four 90° angles. The word ‘rectangle’ is derived from the Latin ‘rectangulus’, which can be split into ‘rectus’, meaning right and ‘angulus’, meaning angle.

The sum of any two adjacent angles in a rectangle equals 180°, and the sum of all the angles in a rectangle equals 360°.

A square can be considered a particular type of rectangle with equal sides. A rectangle is also a parallelogram since it has two parallel sides.

**What is Trapezoid?**

A trapezoid is a quadrilateral having a pair of parallel opposite sides. Sometimes a trapezoid is strictly a quadrilateral having only a couple of parallel opposite sides.

The word ‘trapezoid’ is derived from the Greek word ‘trapézion’, meaning a small table. The diagonals in a trapezoid need not be equal.

A trapezoid is also called a trapezium many times. The sum of all the angles of a trapezoid also comes out to be 360°. A trapezoid may or may not have right angles in it.

**Main Differences Between Rectangle and Trapezoid**

- A rectangle is a quadrilateral with four right angles, two equal opposite sides and two parallel opposite sides. In contrast, a trapezoid is a quadrilateral with just a pair of parallel opposite sides.
- The diagonals of a rectangle are equal and bisect each other, while the diagonals of a trapezoid aren’t equal and intersect.

**References**

- https://pubs.nctm.org/downloadpdf/journals/mt/107/7/article-p508.pdf
- https://www.jstor.org/stable/30024211

Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.