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pyramid, in geometry, solid figure bounded by a polygon (the base, or directrix) and the surface generated by a moving line (the generator) passing through a fixed point (vertex) and continually intersecting the perimeter of the polygon. The surface, or lateral faces, of the pyramid are triangles having as a common vertex the vertex of the pyramid; in a regular pyramid the base is a regular polygon and the lateral faces are congruent triangles. The altitude of a pyramid is the perpendicular distance from the vertex to the base. The volume of a pyramid is equal to one third the product of the altitude and the area of the base. The frustum is the portion of a pyramid between the base and a plane parallel to the base cutting the pyramid into two parts.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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