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pentagon (n.)

1560s, "plane figure with five angles and five sides," from French pentagone (13c.) or directly from Late Latin pentagonum "pentagon," from Greek pentagōnon, a noun use of the neuter of the adjective pentagōnos "five-angled," from pente "five" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + gōnia "angle, corner" (from PIE root *genu- (1) "knee; angle"). The U.S. military headquarters known as the Pentagon was completed in 1942, and so called for its shape; used allusively for "U.S. military leadership" from 1945; Pentagonese "U.S. official military jargon" is by 1951. Related: Pentagonal.

In nature, pentagonal symmetry is rare in inanimate forms. Packed soap bubbles seem to strive for it but never quite succeed, and there are no mineral crystals with true pentagonal structures. But pentagonal geometry is basic to many living things, from roses and forget-me-nots to sea urchins and starfish. [Robert Bringhurst, "The Elements of Typographic Style," 1992]

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