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

Introduced this year in Geneva, the ladies Hypnose is an elliptical watch that represents the natural evolution from the historic 1906 oval shaped Cartier Baignoire. Stephen Watson, Town & Country, "A First Look Inside the New Cartier Mansion," 8 Sep. 2016 So running, walking, elliptical, cycling — anything that’s going to improve blood flow to the uterus is going to be very helpful. Shanelle Drakeford, Allure, "How to Alleviate Period Cramps, According to Doctors," 8 July 2018 Instead, opt for biking, swimming or using an elliptical machine. Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "Knee and hip replacements are common, but they’re not always fully successful," 18 June 2018 The Earth’s orbit gradually changes shape from almost circular to slightly elliptical over a period of 202,500 years, and then starts returning to form over the next 202,500 years — like a metronome swinging side to side. Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, "Every 202,500 Years, Earth Wanders in a New Direction," 21 May 2018 Maybe the elliptical or stationary bike is a better option. NBC News, "What is the most effective cardio machine in the gym?," 26 Feb. 2018 On a nearby terrace is an outdoor gym, with an elliptical machine and other equipment. Helene Stapinski, New York Times, "On the Resilient Waterfront," 31 May 2018 Equipment includes treadmills, dumbbells, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and other machines. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Senior Fitness Center Grand Opening Is Here," 6 June 2018 The rest of the objects in the solar system, however, are pulled into elliptical orbits by the gravity of giant planets like Jupiter and Neptune. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Is the Mysterious Planet Nine Just a Swarm of Asteroids?," 6 June 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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Last Updated

30 Sep 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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Comments on elliptical

What made you want to look up elliptical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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