Map Of Colorado Photo Credit: 200mm (iStock).

Photo Credit: 200mm (iStock).

If you thought Colorado was just a big, boring ol' rectangle... think again. It's actually a shape called a hexahectaenneacontakaiheptagon, with 697 distinct sides. And yes, that's a real shape name – more on that below.

According to an article from Big Think, the many sides of Colorado are the result of two key factors – one, the Earth not being round, and two, inaccuracies in 19th-century surveying due to lack of modern technology.

This isn't the first time less-than-perfect tech resulted in funky measurements in Colorado either – in the past, I've covered this as it relates to Colorado's mountains 'growing' and 'shrinking,' as well as how it impacted the placement of the 'Four Corners' site.

As it relates to the state's borders, slight deviations from Colorado's assumed straight lines become apparent when taking a closer look at modern maps, including those found on Google, with each border seemingly shifting back and forth countless times when viewed with a close zoom.

Find one example of these angles below. Note how the dotted line can be seen on each side of the straight line I've added to the map. 

Map Credit: Google Maps.

Map Credit: @2022 Google Maps.

If you had to squint to see that discrepancy, know that in many spots, the degree of the angle is even less – but it's there.

I know what you're thinking – can that 'side' even count if that's what's keeping Colorado from being one of the country's only four-sided states?

Other sides are more obvious.

Check out the obvious angle east of the red pin on the map below, found near the border with New Mexico and the town of Chromo.

Map: @2022 Google Maps.

Map: @2022 Google Maps.

If we're counting one odd angle, that means we should probably count them all – and according to Big Think, that means 697 sides of Colorado exist.

Boom – and just like that, Colorado gets even more interesting.

But now, let's break down that wild shape name - hexahectaenneacontakaiheptagon.

'Hexa' means six, explaining the first portion of the term. 'Hecto,' which follows 'hexa,' denotes a factor of 100, which covers the '600' number.

Then there's the portion of the word that's probably the most complicated aspect of this wild shape name – 'enneacontakai.'

According to, an enneacontagon is a 90-sided shape, with the 'kai' syllable used to connect tens to ones.

Then the ones come in – a  'heptagon' is a 7-sided shape, accounting for 7 of the 697 sides. 

Thus, put all of that together and you get the hexahectaenneacontakaiheptagon – the official shape of Colorado.

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