Definition:Inverse Cotangent/Real/Arccotangent

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Arccotangent Function

From Shape of Cotangent Function, we have that $\cot x$ is continuous and strictly decreasing on the interval $\openint 0 \pi$.

From the same source, we also have that:

$\cot x \to + \infty$ as $x \to 0^+$
$\cot x \to - \infty$ as $x \to \pi^-$

Let $g: \openint 0 \pi \to \R$ be the restriction of $\cot x$ to $\openint 0 \pi$.

Thus from Inverse of Strictly Monotone Function, $\map g x$ admits an inverse function, which will be continuous and strictly decreasing on $\R$.

This function is called arccotangent of $x$ and is written $\arccot x$.


The domain of $\arccot x$ is $\R$
The image of $\arccot x$ is $\openint 0 \pi$.


There exists the popular but misleading notation $\cot^{-1} x$, which is supposed to denote the inverse cotangent function.

However, note that as $\cot x$ is not an injection, it does not have a well-defined inverse.

The $\arccot$ function as defined here has a well-specified image which (to a certain extent) is arbitrarily chosen for convenience.

Therefore it is preferred to the notation $\cot^{-1} x$, which (as pointed out) can be confusing and misleading.

Sometimes, $\operatorname {Cot}^{-1}$ (with a capital $\text C$) is taken to mean the same as $\arccot$.

However this can also be confusing due to the visual similarity between that and the lowercase $\text c$.

Some sources hyphenate: arc-cotangent.

Also denoted as

The symbol used to denote the arccotangent function is variously seen as:

  • $\arccot$
  • $\operatorname {acot}$
  • $\operatorname {actn}$

Also see

  • Results about inverse cotangent can be found here.

Other inverse trigonometrical ratios