More formally, two sets of points are called congruent if, and only if, one can be transformed into the other by an isometry, i.e., a combination of rigid motions, namely a translation, a rotation, and a reflection. This means that either object can be repositioned and reflected (but not resized) so as to coincide precisely with the other object. So two distinct plane figures on a piece of paper are congruent if we can cut them out and then match them up completely. Turning the paper over is permitted.
- Two line segments are congruent if they have the same length.
- Two angles are congruent if they have the same measure.
- Two circles are congruent if they have the same diameter.
In this sense, two plane figures are congruent implies that their corresponding characteristics are "congruent" or "equal" including not just their corresponding sides and angles, but also their corresponding diagonals, perimeters, and areas.
The related concept of similarity applies if the objects have the same shape but do not necessarily have the same size. (Most definitions consider congruence to be a form of similarity, although a minority require that the objects have different sizes in order to qualify as similar.)