Is it True a Circle Has All Three Types of Symmetry?


Symmetry is an essential concept in mathematics. It deals with the graphs of mathematical equations and the position of their points in correlation to a set of perpendicular axes. Circles are perfect objects in mathematics because they possess all three possible types of symmetry. The three types of symmetry include symmetry to the origin, symmetry to the x-axis and symmetry to the y-axis.

The Coordinate Axes

  • In mathematics, the notion of symmetry stems from the "x" and "y" coordinate axes. The coordinate axes are an arrangement of two lines that make a right angle with one another --- one vertical, the y-axis, and one horizontal, the x-axis. The origin is the point at which both lines crisscross. Each line contains equally spaced partitions or units that the mathematician uses to determine the values and measurements of graphs of functions.

Origin Symmetry

  • Mathematicians typically situate the axis to a circle by superimposing the origin of the axes on top of the center of the circle. This method of placement makes the equations of a circle much easier to manipulate because every point on the circle's edge is an identical distance from the origin. In this case, the circle possesses symmetry to the origin -- the circle's mirror image appears above and below the x-axis as well as to the left and right of the y-axis.

X-axis Symmetry

Y-axis Symmetry

  • The y-axis is the vertical coordinate axis and contains the output values of a mathematical equation for all inputted y-values. Symmetry about the y-axis abides by the same principles as symmetry about the origin and symmetry about the x-axis. The only difference is that the graph's mirror image shows up on either side of the y-axis. Mathematically, it is the opposite of symmetry about the x-axis -- the function will produce identical "y" values on either side of the y-axis.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images Jupiterimages/ Images Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images
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