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Rectangular vs. Rectangle — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on November 7, 2023
Rectangular is an adjective describing the shape or attributes of an object, implying it has right angles. Rectangle is a noun, referring to the quadrilateral shape itself.
Rectangular vs. Rectangle — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Rectangular and Rectangle


Key Differences

Rectangular is a descriptive term, an adjective used to denote that something has the characteristics of a rectangle. It suggests that the object in question has the attribute of right angles and typically, a length that is greater than its width, without being the geometric shape itself. For instance, a table may be described as rectangular if its top mirrors the shape of a rectangle.
Rectangle, on the other hand, is a noun that specifically names the quadrilateral shape with four right angles and opposite sides that are parallel and equal in length. When someone refers to a rectangle, they are not simply talking about the attributes of an object, but are directly referencing the shape that is defined by these very specific properties.
When you say something is rectangular, you are typically referring to objects in everyday life that resemble a rectangle. It could refer to a wide array of items or areas, from a rectangular piece of paper to a rectangular swimming pool, indicating the shape is akin to that of a rectangle.
Conversely, the term rectangle is often used in mathematics and geometry. It represents an exact shape, a fundamental figure in Euclidean geometry. It's a term that carries precision: a rectangle is always a polygon with four sides, each meeting at a 90-degree angle.
In essence, rectangular can be thought of as a quality or characteristic, something that describes aspects of various objects or areas. Whereas rectangle is a defined, specific entity in the realm of geometry, one of the primary shapes taught and recognized universally in mathematics.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Describing a shape with right angles
The shape itself with four right angles

Usage in a Sentence

It is used to describe objects or areas
It is used to refer to the shape

Geometric Precision

Descriptive, not always geometrically precise
A precise geometric shape

Example Objects

Rectangular garden, window, or phone screen
A rectangle is a type of polygon

Compare with Definitions


Shaped like a rectangle
The tablecloth is rectangular, fitting the table perfectly.


A four-sided flat shape with straight sides where all interior angles are right angles
The children drew a rectangle on the pavement.


Descriptive of objects with right angles and parallel opposite sides
Her phone has a sleek, rectangular design.


A plane figure with four straight sides and four right angles, especially one with unequal adjacent sides
In art class, we cut out a colored rectangle for our collage.


Aligning with the properties of a rectangle but not limited to geometry
The book's rectangular shape slipped easily into her bag.


A polygon with opposite sides equal and parallel, and four right angles
The geometry problem asked us to calculate the area of a rectangle.


Relating to or resembling a rectangle in form
The rectangular pool was ideal for laps.


A quadrilateral with four right angles
A chessboard consists of squares, but the board itself is a rectangle.


Having the shape of a rectangle.


In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral with four right angles. It can also be defined as: an equiangular quadrilateral, since equiangular means that all of its angles are equal (360°/4 = 90°); or a parallelogram containing a right angle.


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


A plane figure with four straight sides and four right angles, especially one with unequal adjacent sides, in contrast to a square.


Designating a geometric coordinate system with mutually perpendicular axes.


A four-sided plane figure with four right angles.


Having a shape like a rectangle.


(geometry) Any quadrilateral having opposing sides parallel and four right angles.


Having axes that meet each other with right angles.


(nontechnical) Such a quadrilateral that is oblong (longer than it is wide): one that is not regular (equilateral), that is, any except a square.


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


A four-sided figure having only right angles; a right-angled parallelogram.


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




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


A parallelogram with four right angles


Having the characteristics of a rectangle
The rectangular room made arranging furniture a breeze.


A shape used in geometry that is a type of parallelogram
The windows in the building were all shaped like rectangles.

Common Curiosities

What does rectangular mean?

Rectangular describes an object that has the shape or characteristics of a rectangle, typically with right angles.

What defines a rectangle?

A rectangle is a quadrilateral with four right angles and opposite sides that are equal and parallel.

Are all rectangles similar?

Geometrically, all rectangles share the same characteristics, but they can differ in size.

Can any shape be described as rectangular?

No, only shapes with right angles and opposite sides that are parallel and equal can be described as rectangular.

Is the word 'rectangular' ever used as a noun?

No, 'rectangular' is always used as an adjective.

Can a square be described as rectangular?

Yes, since a square has all the properties of a rectangle (four right angles and opposite sides equal), it is a special case of a rectangular shape.

Are all sides of a rectangle equal?

Not necessarily. In a rectangle, only the opposite sides are of equal length.

Is a square considered rectangular?

Yes, because a square has all the properties of a rectangle.

What is a rectangle?

A rectangle is a four-sided flat shape where every angle is a right angle (90 degrees).

Is 'rectangular' used only in geometry?

No, 'rectangular' can be used in everyday language to describe objects with a rectangular shape, such as tables, mirrors, or plots of land.

Is it correct to say something is 'more rectangular'?

Yes, you can say something is 'more rectangular' to compare its shape to a perfect rectangle, though it's not a common expression.

Can a rectangle be a square?

Yes, if all four sides are equal, a rectangle is also a square.

How do you calculate the area of a rectangle?

The area of a rectangle is calculated by multiplying its length by its width.

Can rectangles be used in design?

Yes, rectangles are commonly used in design due to their simple, balanced shape, which is easy to work with and pleasing to the eye.

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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.

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