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Rectangular vs. Oblong — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 10, 2023
Rectangular refers to a shape with four straight sides and four right angles, while Oblong refers to an elongated shape, especially a rectangle with unequal sides. Both describe shapes, but Rectangular is more specific about angles.
Rectangular vs. Oblong — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Rectangular and Oblong


Key Differences

Rectangular is a term that describes a geometric shape characterized by four straight sides and four right angles. The opposite sides in a rectangle are parallel and of equal length. Oblong, however, is a term that is often used to describe any elongated shape and is most commonly associated with rectangles where the adjacent sides are of unequal lengths.
In mathematics and geometry, Rectangular is a more specific term, with precise requirements for the angles and the lengths of opposite sides. Oblong is a broader term, often used in common language, that encompasses more shapes, including elongated circles or even squares stretched in one dimension. While a square can be considered a specific type of rectangle, it would not be described as oblong because all its sides are equal.
Rectangular shapes are prevalent in various applications, including architecture, design, and everyday objects. Oblong shapes are also frequently seen, especially in items that require an elongated form, such as certain fruits, pills, or decorative items. In this sense, Oblong is more flexible and can describe a wider variety of items and shapes, while Rectangular is constrained to its mathematical definition.
When it comes to categorization, all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Similarly, all Rectangular shapes with unequal adjacent sides can be considered Oblong, but not all Oblong shapes are Rectangular. For example, an elongated oval could be described as oblong but not rectangular.

Comparison Chart


Always 90 degrees
May or may not be 90 degrees


Equal opposite sides
Usually unequal sides

Mathematical Use

Specific in geometry
Less specific


Less flexible
More flexible



Compare with Definitions


Rectangular can describe any shape or object that has four straight sides and right angles.
The rectangular phone was easy to grip.


Oblong refers to an elongated shape or object.
The oblong watermelon was hard to carry.


Rectangular is a term used in geometry to describe a four-sided polygon with right angles.
The proof showed that the quadrilateral was indeed rectangular.


Oblong describes something longer than it is wide.
She chose an oblong dish for serving the spaghetti.


Rectangular shapes have four right angles.
The room was rectangular in shape.


Oblong shapes are extended in one dimension.
The painting was oblong, wider than it was tall.


Rectangular is a specific category of quadrilaterals.
The students learned how to calculate the area of a rectangular shape.


Oblong is commonly used to describe rectangles with unequal adjacent sides.
The oblong tablecloth didn’t fit well.


Rectangular refers to objects having sides of equal opposite lengths.
The rectangular table sat eight people comfortably.


Oblong can be used more broadly to describe stretched or extended shapes.
The artist used oblong forms in the abstract sculpture.


Having the shape of a rectangle.


A rectangular object or flat figure with unequal adjacent sides
An oblong of grass


Having right angles or a rectangular base, side, or sides
A rectangular box.


Having the shape of an oblong
Oblong tables


Designating a geometric coordinate system with mutually perpendicular axes.


Deviating from a square, circular, or spherical form by being elongated in one direction.


Having a shape like a rectangle.


Having the shape of or resembling a rectangle or ellipse.


Having axes that meet each other with right angles.


(Botany) Having an elongated form with approximately parallel sides
An oblong leaf.


Right-angled; having one or more angles of ninety degrees.


An object or figure, such as a rectangle, with an elongated shape.


Having four right angles;
A rectangular figure twice as long as it is wide


Having a length and width that are different; not square or circular.


Having a set of mutually perpendicular axes; meeting at right angles;
Wind and sea may displace the ship's center of gravity along three orthogonal axes
A rectangular Cartesian coordinate system


Roughly rectangular or elliptical.


(bookmaking) Having the horizontal axis of a page longer than the vertical; In landscape orientation.


Something with an oblong shape.


A rectangle with length and width that are different.


An ellipse with minor and major axes that are different.


To extend so as to form an oblong shape.


To give an oblong shape to.


Having greater length than breadth, esp. when rectangular.


A rectangular figure longer than it is broad; hence, any figure longer than it is broad.
The best figure of a garden I esteem an oblong upon a descent.


A plane figure that deviates from a square or circle due to elongation


Of a leaf shape; having a somewhat elongated form with approximately parallel sides


Deviating from a square or circle or sphere by being elongated in one direction

Common Curiosities

Is every Rectangular shape a quadrilateral?

Yes, every Rectangular shape is a four-sided polygon or quadrilateral.

Can Oblong shapes have curved edges?

Yes, Oblong can describe elongated shapes with curved edges.

Are all Rectangular shapes also Oblong?

No, only Rectangular shapes with unequal adjacent sides are Oblong.

Is a square Rectangular or Oblong?

A square is Rectangular but not Oblong.

Is Oblong used in mathematical contexts?

Less frequently; it is more often used in general language.

Can a circle be Oblong?

No, but an elongated circle or an ellipse could be considered Oblong.

Do Rectangular shapes always have parallel opposite sides?

Yes, Rectangular shapes always have parallel and equal opposite sides.

Is a rectangle with equal sides Oblong?

No, a rectangle with equal sides is a square and is not considered Oblong.

Can an Oblong shape have right angles?

Yes, an Oblong shape can have right angles, especially when it is a rectangle.

How do I know if a shape is Rectangular?

A shape is Rectangular if it has four straight sides, four right angles, and equal opposite sides.

Do all Rectangular shapes have 90-degree angles?

Yes, by definition, all Rectangular shapes have four 90-degree angles.

What does Oblong mean in everyday language?

In everyday language, Oblong often means something that is stretched out, especially rectangles.

Can Oblong refer to 3D shapes?

Yes, Oblong can describe 3D objects that are extended in one dimension.

Is every Oblong shape a rectangle?

No, Oblong shapes can include other elongated forms, like elongated ovals.

Is Oblong a specific category in geometry?

No, Oblong is not as specific as Rectangular in geometric terms and is broader in scope.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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