el·​lip·​ti·​cal | \i-ˈlip-ti-kəl, e-\
variants: or elliptic \i-​ˈlip-​tik, e-​ \

Definition of elliptical 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or shaped like an ellipse

2a : of, relating to, or marked by ellipsis or an ellipsis

b(1) : of, relating to, or marked by extreme economy of speech or writing

(2) : of or relating to deliberate obscurity (as of literary or conversational style)


plural ellipticals

Definition of elliptical (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : elliptical galaxy In Hubble's scheme, galaxies are divided into ellipticals and spirals.— Roberto G. Abraham et al.

2 : elliptical trainer Ellipticals move in a smooth, oval motion, like riding a bike standing up, and offer great features like your beloved treadmill.— Monique Savin

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Other Words from elliptical


elliptically \i-​ˈlip-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē, e-​ \ adverb

Examples of elliptical in a Sentence


The moon follows an elliptical path around the Earth. a writer with an elliptical style

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

One photo shows Ari on a treadmill (or elliptical, hard to tell) with Apple’s 1999 original orange iBook (yes, the exact same one Elle Woods outstandingly rocks at Harvard Law). Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" Music Video Will Reference "Legally Blonde," "Mean Girls," and "13 Going on 30"," 20 Nov. 2018 Be sure to mix it up at least twice a month with a variety of exercises, like biking, rowing, running and the elliptical machine. Danielle Braff, Woman's Day, "8 Ways to Stay Full Longer," 9 Nov. 2010 The bands form three elliptical rings, each in its own orbit, overlapping to create both the outer walls of the building and interior walls for the exhibition galleries. Julie V. Iovine., WSJ, "A Shrine to Honor Service," 24 Oct. 2018 Like those other devices, the Apple Watch can only auto detect certain exercises: walking, indoor and outdoor running, pool and open water swimming, rowing, and elliptical training. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple’s September 12, 2018 event: What we expect to be “gathering round” for," 9 Sep. 2018 In the first movie, the villain Syndrome’s lair is pretty much a copy of the Charles Deaton Sculptured House, the vast elliptical prow on Genesee Mountain. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Incredibles 2 Addresses the State of the Union," 19 June 2018 Though her techniques can get repetitive and stall the narrative, more often than not her elliptical editing recreates an innocent’s perception of the slow drift of time. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Tragedy from a child’s point of view in ‘Summer 1993’," 7 June 2018 Astronomers have long hypothesized that other planets in our solar system have impacts here on Earth, shifting its whirl around the sun from nearly circular to five percent elliptical. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Venus and Jupiter May Meddle With Earth’s Orbit and Climate," 10 May 2018 The building’s two grandest spaces — elliptical rooms one atop the other that look out to the Art Museum, the skyline, and the city — have been transformed by local artist Jane Irish into a work, or a show, called Antipodes. Thomas Hine, Philly.com, "'Antipodes' at Lemon Hill shows a way forward: Philly's mansions don't need to be musty antiques," 25 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 16th-floor gym offered three treadmills, two ellipticals, one bike, a solid weight set, good sunrise views and homey touches like a bowl of apples. New York Times, "An Ottawa Hotel Is an Ode to Canada," 2 June 2018 Students at Ohio Ave are provided self-regulation tools like mini-ellipticals, trampolines, and glitter jars, which children can use to become centered during the school day. Emily Jan, The Atlantic, "The Students and Teachers Upending Traditional Approaches to Discipline," 12 May 2018 Cardio: Life Fitness and Woodway treadmills, ellipticals, and steppers. 2. Katy Schneider, The Cut, "Teyana Taylor’s Nail Salon, a New Gym From Chelsea Piers, and High-Design Seder Plates," 18 Mar. 2018 At the Sears in Fair Oaks Mall - which is now about 78,000 square feet, down from 145,000 square feet - dozens of ellipticals and treadmills were on display, as were hundreds of appliances, many of them wrapped in festive red bows. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Will the rapidly-shrinking store save retail?," 26 Dec. 2017 Technogym will also be building GymKit into all of its treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and stairsteppers in the future. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Everything you need to know about Apple’s GymKit, now out in the US," 13 Dec. 2017 For now, GymKit will only work with cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes, and stair-steppers from companies like Life Fitness, Technogym, Matrix, and Star Trac among others. Time, "Your Apple Watch is About to Become More Useful at the Gym," 12 Dec. 2017 The clubs will feature a variety of exercise equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, Arc trainers and stationary bikes — all pointed at 70-inch TVs. Joyce Smith, kansascity, "Planet Fitness is opening two more area locations," 12 Oct. 2017 The watch will be able to share information such as heart rate with treadmills, ellipticals, and more. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "What to expect from Apple’s September 12 event," 8 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elliptical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of elliptical


1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1936, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for elliptical


Greek elleiptikos defective, marked by ellipsis, from elleipein

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9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for elliptical

The first known use of elliptical was in 1656

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More Definitions for elliptical


el·​lip·​ti·​cal | \i-ˈlip-ti-kəl \
variants: or elliptic \-​tik \

Kids Definition of elliptical

: having the shape of an ellipse an elliptical orbit

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