The Math Behind the Dab


On Twitter 2 weeks ago, @12adh13 calculated the exact angle of her dab (you can read about that here). I was so inspired by the silliness, that I decided to calculate the angle of my dab too.

What I think is the easiest way to calculate the angle of your dab, and is also the way that @12adh13 did, is to take a picture of the dab in question, draw a diagram on it, and measure the sides of the triangle. So go ahead and take a picture of your dab. Maybe dab with your friends. Dab with a teacher. Maybe a math teacher. Whatever works really.

When you have your picture, go ahead and draw a triangle on it like mine. I used this website because you can get straight lines pretty easily on it. Snapchat won’t work too well because you need to have straight lines. My diagram has the red lines that make the triangle, a blue box which represents that that is a 90 degree angle, and 2 other green markers for angles. The yellow ellipse in the bottom left corner is called theta. Theta is just a variable that is also an angle. The angle of theta is the angle of increase for your dab.

Hopefully, your drawing looks as beautiful as mine and you can break out a ruler of some sort and measure the sides of the triangle. I am sure that there is some sort of application that allows you calculate the length of the lines electronically, but I could not find one. You only really need two sides of the triangle so don’t bother measuring the bottom line. Just find the length of the longest line (the hypotenuse) and the line on the right.

It will help if you make your picture large on your Chromebook when you measure it. I would suggest using centimeters because they are going to be more accurate than inches (and we all know that accuracy is critical when it comes to finding the angle of your dab). I actually took out my ruler and measured the lengths of my triangles. The cool news is that as long as you have the proportions between the sides of the triangles, the size of your triangle won’t matter. The angle will stay the same.

Once you have the length measurements recorded, we get to do some fun trigonometry (my favorite!). The following will be your formula:

sin Θ =  (length of right side) ÷ (length of longest side)

“Sin” is short for “sine” which is a trigonometric function. There should be a button on your calculator (or a web calculator) that says “sin”. We are solving for theta (the circle thing). Using algebra, plug the values of the lengths of the side into the equation and simplify.

The last set of the calculation is taking the inverse sine of both sides of the equation. Click “2nd” on your calculator, and then click sin. That should give you an angle measurement that should be the accurate angle of your dab. Congratulations!


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