Trigonometry Workbook For Dummies
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The secant function, abbreviated sec, is called a reciprocal function because it uses the reciprocal of the trig function, cosine. The secant function uses the ratio

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Just as with the cosecant, the ratio of the sides is greater than 1.

A right triangle with sides 5, 12, and 13.
A right triangle with sides 5, 12, and 13.

Using the triangle in the above figure, the two secants are

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Mary Jane Sterling taught algebra, business calculus, geometry, and finite mathematics at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, for more than 30 years. She is the author of several For Dummies books, including Algebra Workbook For Dummies, Algebra II For Dummies, and Algebra II Workbook For Dummies.

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