Hello pinkperil

Welcome to Math Help Forum! Originally Posted by

**pinkperil** I am having an issue with understanding the concept of a secant and to some extent a tangent. Yes all the basic trig functions are ratios, but the sine ratio represents an angle. I have seen diagrams representing a secant as a line, but it is something more abstract. I have divided the hypotenuse by the adjacent line, but 4.47 / 4 = 1.1... so obviously the value of 1.1 is much smaller than 4.47. Apparently, the secant line is longer than the hypotenuse in all the diagrams that I have seen ...so I am at a lost as to how a secant translates into the longer line.

Don't worry about it. I've been teaching trigonometry for 45 years, and I've never yet had to use any geometrical property of the secant of an angle. Just learn that:$\displaystyle \sec \theta = \frac{1}{\cos\theta}=\frac{\text{hypotenuse}}{\tex t{adjacent}}$

Grandad