Friday, November 18, 2016


So I was browsing some mathematics websites (yes, I browse mathematical websites for recreational purposes) and spotted a new-to-me mnemonic to remember SOHCAHTOA.

Now, what’s SOHCAHTOA?

It’s the definition of Sine, Cosine, and Tangent in a right triangle. Specifically, sine is equal to the opposite side divided by the hypotenuse, cosine is equal to the adjacent side over the hypotenuse, and the tangent opposite over adjacent.

SOHCAHTOA = Sine Opposite Hypotenuse Cosine Adjacent Hypotenuse Tangent Opposite Adjacent

I can remember being barely a teenager, thirty-five some-odd years ago, puzzling out how to remember this esoteric bit of knowledge one chilly September morning at the start of the school year.
SOHCAHTOA. Reminded me of that mysterious word carved into the bark of a tree at the vanished settlement of Roanoke in North Carolina four centuries ago: CROATOAN.

So that’s how I remembered it. But don’t ask me how I remembered it.

Anyway, this book offered a helpful mnemonic:

Some Old Hippie Caught Another Hippie Tripping On Acid


Wow! I am floored. I will go to my grave remembering this stupid – yet extremely funny – mental math aid.

PS. Here’s another mnemonic I had to memorize – for a college astronomy class.

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