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What does "tessellation" mean?

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Quick Answer

A tessellation is a pattern of geometric shapes that can completely cover a surface without the shapes overlapping one another or leaving any gaps. Tessellations may also be called tilings, as the individual shapes in the pattern resemble tiles.

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Regular tessellations are tessellations made up of regular polygons, or shapes whose sides and angles are all equal. A simple example of a regular tessellation is a pattern made up of squares that touch on each side, as on a checkerboard. Semi-regular, or Archimedean, tessellations are made up of two or more different kinds of regular polygons such that the pattern at each vertex where the shapes meet is the same.

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