In geometry, an icosahedron ( or ) is a polyhedron with 20 faces. The name comes from Ancient Greek εἴκοσι (eíkosi) 'twenty' and from Ancient Greek ἕδρα (hédra) ' seat'. The plural can be either "icosahedra" () or "icosahedrons".
There are infinitely many non-similar shapes of icosahedra, some of them being more symmetrical than others. The best known is the (convex, non-stellated) regular icosahedron—one of the Platonic solids—whose faces are 20 equilateral triangles.
There are two objects, one convex and one nonconvex, that can both be called regular icosahedra. Each has 30 edges and 20 equilateral triangle faces with five meeting at each of its twelve vertices. Both have icosahedral symmetry. The term "regular icosahedron" generally refers to the convex variety, while the nonconvex form is called a great icosahedron.
Stellation is the process of extending the faces or edges of a polyhedron until they meet to form a new polyhedron. It is done symmetrically so that the resulting figure retains the overall symmetry of the parent figure.
In their book The Fifty-Nine Icosahedra, Coxeter et al. enumerated 58 such stellations of the regular icosahedron.
Of these, many have a single face in each of the 20 face planes and so are also icosahedra. The great icosahedron is among them.
Other stellations have more than one face in each plane or form compounds of simpler polyhedra. These are not strictly icosahedra, although they are often referred to as such.
A regular icosahedron can be distorted or marked up as a lower pyritohedral symmetry, and is called a snub octahedron, snub tetratetrahedron, snub tetrahedron, and pseudo-icosahedron. This can be seen as an alternated truncated octahedron. If all the triangles are equilateral, the symmetry can also be distinguished by colouring the 8 and 12 triangle sets differently.
Pyritohedral symmetry has the symbol (3*2), [3+,4], with order 24. Tetrahedral symmetry has the symbol (332), [3,3]+, with order 12. These lower symmetries allow geometric distortions from 20 equilateral triangular faces, instead having 8 equilateral triangles and 12 congruent isosceles triangles.
The coordinates of the 12 vertices can be defined by the vectors defined by all the possible cyclic permutations and sign-flips of coordinates of the form (2, 1, 0). These coordinates represent the truncated octahedron with alternated vertices deleted.
It is scissors congruent to a cube, meaning that it can be sliced into smaller polyhedral pieces that can be rearranged to form a solid cube.
The rhombic icosahedron is a zonohedron made up of 20 congruent rhombs. It can be derived from the rhombic triacontahedron by removing 10 middle faces. Even though all the faces are congruent, the rhombic icosahedron is not face-transitive.