Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Pyramids and Prisms

pyramid-pdPyramids vs Prisms

Most people have a misconception that a prism is the same as a pyramid. However, it is worth knowing that these two are actually different. Let’s take a look at their differences using geometry’s point of view.

A pyramid, in geometry, is a polyhedron formed by connecting a polygonal base and a point called apex. Each base edge and apex forms a triangle. The pyramid’s base can be trilateral, quadrilateral or any polygon shape. The most common version is that of the square pyramid.

A pyramid is often regarded as triangular structures, usually found in Egypt. These were the largest structures on Earth for thousands of years. These structures are designed with the majority of their weight closer to the ground. It allowed early civilization to create a more stable monumental structure.

On the other hand, a prism is also a polyhedron, made up of a polygonal base, but with a translated copy, and the joining faces corresponding to the sides. The joining faces form a parallelogram, and not a triangle.

A prism, in optics, refers to a transparent optical element, with polished surfaces that refract light. The most common is that of the triangular prism. It is made up of a triangular base and rectangular sides, that’s why the colloquial term ‘prism’ is usually referred to this type. Prism is usually made of glass, but it can be made with any transparent material that can refract, reflect or split light.


1. A pyramid has a base and a connecting point, while a prism has a base, together with a translated copy of it.

2. The sides or faces formed in a pyramid are always triangles, while in a prism, they normally form a parallelogram.

3. A pyramid is often regarded as a solid building, while a prism is referred to something that is transparent, and can refract, reflect or split light.

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