# Oval vs. Elliptical — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 18, 2023
Oval is a rounded shape resembling an egg, while Elliptical pertains to an ellipse, a geometric shape with two distinct foci.

## Key Differences

Oval and Elliptical both describe rounded, elongated shapes, but they originate from different contexts. An Oval often denotes an egg-like form without precise geometric properties, while Elliptical refers directly to the properties of an ellipse.
When people refer to an Oval shape, they typically envision a simple, symmetrical curve that resembles an egg. This term is less rigorous in its definition. Elliptical, however, has a strict mathematical grounding, defined by two axes of differing lengths and two focal points.
In everyday language, Oval is a more casual term and might be used interchangeably with Elliptical. However, in mathematics or geometry, the distinction between an ellipse (Elliptical) and an Oval becomes crucial, with the former having exact parameters.
The applications of the terms also vary. For instance, an Oval mirror or an Oval table emphasizes the object's visual appearance. In contrast, an Elliptical orbit or an Elliptical trainer references the geometric or functional attributes associated with ellipses.
While both terms describe curved shapes, their use and implications differ. Oval is more general and aesthetic, while Elliptical is specific and often functional or geometric.

## Comparison Chart

### Primary Definition

A rounded shape resembling an egg.
Pertaining to an ellipse with two foci.

### Rigidity of Definition

More casual and less precise.
Mathematically rigorous.

### Common Contexts

Art, design.
Geometry, astronomy, fitness equipment.

### Symmetry

Typically symmetrical, but not always.
Always has two axes of different lengths.

### Focal Points

Not defined by focal points.
Defined by two distinct focal points.

## Compare with Definitions

#### Oval

A rounded, egg-like shape.
The artist drew an Oval face.

#### Elliptical

Relating to or shaped like an ellipse.
The galaxy had an Elliptical form.

#### Oval

A shape with a smooth, elongated curve.
The Oval table could seat eight.

#### Elliptical

Having a sentence or phrase that omits elements but retains the meaning.
His writing was concise and often Elliptical.

#### Oval

A closed curve that doesn't have fixed mathematical properties.
The child's Oval resembled a circle.

#### Elliptical

Having a path or orbit in the shape of an ellipse.
The planet had an Elliptical orbit around the star.

#### Oval

Resembling the long-round shape of an egg.
The jewel was cut in an Oval shape.

#### Elliptical

Being deliberately vague or ambiguous.
His explanation was Elliptical and confusing.

#### Oval

An oval (from Latin ovum, "egg") is a closed curve in a plane which resembles the outline of an egg. The term is not very specific, but in some areas (projective geometry, technical drawing, etc.) it is given a more precise definition, which may include either one or two axes of symmetry of an ellipse.

#### Elliptical

Of, relating to, or having the shape of an ellipse.

#### Oval

Having a rounded and slightly elongated outline or shape like that of an egg
Her smooth oval face

#### Elliptical

Containing or characterized by ellipsis.

#### Oval

A body, object, or design with an oval shape or outline
Cut out two small ovals from the felt

#### Elliptical

Of or relating to extreme economy of oral or written expression.

#### Oval

Resembling an egg in shape.

#### Elliptical

Marked by deliberate obscurity of style or expression.

#### Oval

Resembling an ellipse in shape; elliptical.

#### Elliptical

In a shape of, or reminding of, an ellipse; oval.

#### Oval

An egg-shaped or elliptical form or figure.

#### Elliptical

Of, or showing ellipsis; having a word or words omitted.

#### Oval

An elliptical track, as for racing or athletic events.

#### Elliptical

(of speech) Concise, condensed.

#### Oval

An elongated round shape resembling an egg or ellipse. Category:en:Curves

Elliptic.

#### Oval

A thing having such a shape, such as an arena.

#### Elliptical

(astronomy) An elliptical galaxy.

#### Oval

(math) In a projective plane, a set of points such that no three are collinear and there is a unique tangent line at each point.

#### Elliptical

An elliptical trainer.

#### Oval

(AU) A sports field, typically but not exclusively oval in shape.

#### Elliptical

Containing or characterized by ellipsis;
The clause of comparison is often elliptical

#### Oval

Having the shape of an oval.

#### Elliptical

Rounded like an egg

#### Oval

Of or pertaining to an ovum.
Oval conceptions

#### Elliptical

Characterized by extreme economy of expression or omission of superfluous elements;
The dialogue is elliptic and full of dark hints
The explanation was concise, even elliptical to the verge of obscurity

#### Oval

Of or pertaining to eggs; done in the egg, or inception; as, oval conceptions.

#### Elliptical

Referring to a type of fitness equipment.
She worked out on the Elliptical machine daily.

#### Oval

Having the figure of an egg; oblong and curvilinear, with one end broader than the other, or with both ends of about the same breadth; in popular usage, elliptical.

#### Oval

A body or figure in the shape of an egg, or popularly, of an ellipse.

#### Oval

A closed plane curve resulting from the intersection of a circular cone and a plane cutting completely through it;
The sums of the distances from the foci to any point on an ellipse is constant

#### Oval

Rounded like an egg

#### Oval

Curved with no sharp corners.
The mirror had an Oval frame.

## Common Curiosities

#### Is every Oval an ellipse?

No, while all ellipses are Ovals, not all Ovals are ellipses.

#### Why are some orbits described as Elliptical?

Some orbits resemble ellipses due to the gravitational pulls of celestial bodies.

#### Why might someone use the term Elliptical in writing?

It can mean the writing is concise, omitting certain elements but retaining meaning.

#### How is an Elliptical trainer related to the shape?

Its movement mimics the path of an ellipse, offering a smooth workout.

#### Can Oval and Elliptical be used interchangeably?

In casual contexts, possibly, but in geometry, they have distinct meanings.

#### Can an Oval have focal points?

Not by definition, but an ellipse, which is Elliptical, has two focal points.

#### Which is more common in geometry: Oval or Elliptical?

Elliptical, as it relates to the precise shape of an ellipse.

#### Are Oval shapes always symmetrical?

Often, but not necessarily. Ovals can be irregular.

#### Are race tracks Oval?

Many are, but they might not fit the precise definition of an ellipse.

#### Why is Elliptical speech called so?

It omits parts of the sentence but retains the overall meaning, much like an ellipse has parts "omitted" from a circle.

#### Can Ovals be used in architecture?

Yes, Oval windows or archways are common in certain architectural styles.

#### How do you draw an Elliptical shape?

With two axes of different lengths and two focal points.

#### Can both terms relate to objects in space?

Yes, but Elliptical is more common, like when describing orbits or galaxies.

#### Is an egg perfectly Oval?

Not always, but it often resembles an Oval shape.

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