Construction of Tangent to a Circle

Construction Tangent Circle

A tangent to a circle is a line that is perpendicular to the radius at a particular point. The point where the radius and tangent are perpendicular to each other is known as the point of tangency. There are various conditions and precludes for the construction of tangents to a circle as mentioned below:


At a Particular Point of the Circle with Centre O:

  1. Let’s take a circle with centre O and a point P on its circumference. 

  2. Hence, OP will be the radius of the circle.

  3. Extend the radius OP further, outside the circle till M.

  4. Now, adjust the compass in such a way, so that the opening of the compass is more than the radius OP. 

  5. Once the compass is adjusted accordingly, cut a semi-circle on OM while keeping the compass on O.

  6. Similarly, cut a semi-circle by keeping the compass at M.

  7. Now, join the semi-circles so formed to draw a tangent to a circle.

  8. The point where OP and the perpendicular meet will be the point of tangency.

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At a Point Outside The Circle:

  1. Let’s take a circle with centre O and point P outside the circle.

  2. Join the points O and P.

  3. Now, construct a perpendicular bisector of the line OP.

  4. For making a perpendicular bisector to OP, adjust the mouth of the compass in such a way that it is more than half of OP.

  5. Now, while putting the compass on point O, construct an arc around the middle of OP.

  6. Similarly, construct an arc with the compass on point P.

  7. Make a line, joining the points where arcs are intersecting.

  8. The line passing through OP will be the perpendicular bisector of it.

  9. Now, construct a circle with O and the point of intersection.

  10. Connect the point P with the two points at which both the circles are intersecting and draw tangent to circle.

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Construction of Tangents When NO Centre is Given:

There are two methods of construction of tangent without using centre:

  • Inscribed Triangle

  1. Construct a circle and make an inscribed triangle, ABM inside it.

  2. Now keep the compass at point A and measure angle BAM through the compass.

  3. Adjust the mouth of the compass according to the angle.

  4. Keep the compass at point M and cut an angle keeping the opening of the compass same, at the line BM passing through the circle.

  5. Now, adjust the mouth of the compass according to the width of the angle BAM.

  6. With the same mouth opening, keep the compass at the point of intersection the line BM and arc and cut the circle.

  7. The two arcs will be intersecting at a point Q.

  8. Now join the points Q and M, and draw a tangent to the circle without using centre.

  9. This line will be the tangent to the circle.

  • Chords

  1. Yet another way of construction of tangents in a circle, without centre is by making chords. Construct any 2 chords inside the circle having a common point.

  2. Now, make the perpendicular bisector of both the chords.

  3. To make the perpendicular bisector, keep the compass at one point of a chord and open the mouth of the compass in such a way that it is more than half the length of the chord.

  4. Cut an arc on the chord.

  5. Similarly, put the compass on the other end of the chord and cut an arc.

  6. Join the points and make a line where these two arcs are cutting each other. 

  7. It will be the perpendicular bisector of the chord.

  8. Similarly, construct a perpendicular bisector at another chord.

  9. The point where both the perpendicular bisectors will meet will be the centre of the circle.

  10. Now that we get the centre O, we can make a radius OP to the circle.

  11. Extend OP outside the circle till M.

  12. Now, construct a perpendicular bisector of the line OP.

  13. To construct a perpendicular bisector, open the mouth of the compass more than half of the length of OP.

  14. Keeping the compass at point O, cut a semicircle at the line OP, similarly keep the compass at point M make a semi-circle.

  15. Join the lines and draw a tangent without using centre through the points where the semi-circles are intersecting.

  16. The line will be tangent to the circle.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What do we Understand by the Tangent of a Circle?

Answer: A tangent circle is a line that begins from outside of the circle and bisects the plane of the circle at its periphery at precisely one point. The point where a tangent bisects the circle is what we call the point of tangency. Construction of Tangent is actually a standard concept of geometry.

Q2. What is a Tangent Generally?

Answer: A tangent in common can be any line, segment or a ray that can be a tangent to more than one circle simultaneously. There can be 1 to 4 numbers of common tangents to two circles. The point to be taken a note of is that a circle's tangent touches the circle but never really enters it. Moreover, multiple tangents to the 2  circles can be an inner tangent or an outer one to each other’s circles.

Q3. Is a Tangent Line to a Circle Perpendicular?

Answer: A tangent to a circle is a line that bisects the circle exactly at one point. This is the point that we call a point of tangency or tangency point. A substantial outcome is that the radius from the centre of the circle to the point of tangency is  perpendicular to the tangent line.