In Wikipedia, a polygon is defined as a closed polygonal chain. In other words, the term "polygon" implies that the curve is closed.

My question is: Is it common to refer to non-closed, piecewise linear curves as "polygons", too? Otherwise, is there a different term that describes general polygonal chains (other than "polygonal chain" which I find a bit long)?

  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't that first depend on what's actually said at which bit of Wikipedia? Further, do piecewise linear curves generically include straight lines? $\endgroup$ Nov 17 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ @RobbieGoodwin Yes, I'd say that a single straight line is a special case of a piecewise linear curve. $\endgroup$
    – Amos Egel
    Nov 17 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ That does make sense, and does it not also imply that all straight lines are 'merely' special cases of curves? $\endgroup$ Nov 18 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


I personally wouldn't like to describe non-closed piecewise linear curves as polygons. You might find polyline a better word to describe it. A polyline is a collection of connected straight line segments.


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