What is a perpendicular bisector?


Quick Answer

A perpendicular bisector is a line that cuts across the midpoint of a given line segment at a 90-degree angle. It divides the line segment into two equal parts. A common method for drawing perpendicular bisectors uses a compass and straight edge or ruler.

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Full Answer

The first step in this method is to place the compass needle on one end of a horizontal line segment. The compass hinge is then adjusted so the distance between the compass needle and the tip of the writing implement is slightly more than half the length of the line segment.

Draw an arc in the area above and below the middle of the line segment while the compass needle remains at the end of the line segment. Make sure the angle of the compass hinge remains unchanged throughout this process.

Move the compass needle to the opposite end of the line segment without altering the hinge, and repeat the process of drawing an arc in the space above and below the line segment. This creates x-shaped arc intersections above and below the line segment.

Draw a vertical line segment connecting the point located at the arc intersection above the horizontal line segment to the point located at the arc intersection below the horizontal line segment. This vertical line segment is the original line segment’s perpendicular bisector.

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