Similar Shapes in Math: Definition & Overview

Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

You've probably noticed similar shapes a lot in your daily life. This lesson explains the definition of similar shapes and gives you some tips on correctly identifying similar shapes in mathematics.

What Are Similar Shapes?

Similar shapes have the same number of sides and are constructed in a similar manner. For example, you probably already know that rectangles and triangles are not similar shapes; they have a different number of sides and they look very different from one another. Similar shapes do not have to be the same size, nor do they have to be in the same position. You can usually tell if they are similar from just looking at them!

Finding Similar Shapes

Let's try an example to see if you can spot the similar shapes?

Can You Identify the Similar Shapes?
Can You Identify the Similar Shapes?

How did you do? Let's find out! I've paired together the similar shapes and circled them. Here are the answers:

Similar Shapes Example 1 Answers
Similar Shapes Example 1 Answers

Did you notice that the small pink circle did not have any pair? That's because there are no shapes similar to the pink circle. You might say that the red and blue ovals are similar; however, they are not the same shape, the circle is more rounded, while the oval is flatter.

Of course, similar shapes can be just about anything, not just traditional shapes. Let's try another example. In the following group, can you find the similar shapes?

Identify the Similar Shapes
Identify the Similar Shapes

How did you do this time? We'll let's take a look at the answers. Once again, I've paired together the similar shapes and circled them.

Similar Shapes Example 2 Answers
Similar Shapes Example 2 Answers

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