In basic trigonometry, it is used to determine unknown side lengths or an acute angle measurement(s). In more advanced mathematics, cosine is treated simply as a function without an apparent or direct reference to a triangle (the triangle's presence becomes assumed). Examples of this may be seen in Calculus through the process of integration. Wherein, the function cosine may only be a part of a large equation.
Cosine is one component out of a three-part acronym known as: SOHCAHTOA. The term cosine occupies the "CAH," wherein the series forms: Cosine (equals) Adjacent (over) Hypotenuse.
Cosine thus represents the ratio of the Adjacent side length to the Hypotenuse side length -- this is all in relation to an (acute) angle, theta.
When dealing with an angle measurement, x ("theta"), the side "touching" the angle is referred to as the Adjacent side; the side furthest away from the angle is referred to as the Opposite side; and, in a right triangle, the hypotenuse always remains and, simplistically, may be recognized as the diagonal side.
In mathematical procedures, cosine is abbreviated as "cos" for convenience.
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