el·​lip·​ti·​cal | \ i-ˈlip-ti-kəl How to pronounce elliptical (audio) , e- \
variants: or elliptic \ i-​ˈlip-​tik How to pronounce elliptical (audio) , 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 How to pronounce elliptical (audio) , e-​ \ adverb

Examples of elliptical in a Sentence

Adjective The moon follows an elliptical path around the Earth. a writer with an elliptical style
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Purchase an elliptical or stationary bike for your basement? Ann Norman, cleveland, "It’s New Year’s resolution time – are you heading inside to the gym or exercising in the great outdoors?," 25 Dec. 2020 Some people are also adding an element of fitness into work hours by purchasing a FitDesk or an under-desk elliptical machine. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Exercise bike bestsellers: Most purchased stationary bikes we covered," 24 Dec. 2020 There's a thread, though, on its elliptical nature. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "Review: Back roads brutality in 'The Devil all the Time'," 16 Sep. 2020 In fact, the idea that cardio has to be high impact is a myth that’s long overdue for busting (low-impact options can include using an elliptical machine, rowing, cycling, or using your bodyweight). Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "Heart-Racing Bodyweight Cardio Workout," 30 Dec. 2020 Under-desk elliptical machines like this one from Sunny Health & Fitness gives you an effective low-impact workout. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Exercise bike bestsellers: Most purchased stationary bikes we covered," 24 Dec. 2020 With the addition of an onsite fitness center, residents can now enjoy treadmill and elliptical machines, dumbbell weights and a stretch ballet barre. Dallas News, "Gatherings adds second building, amenities," 15 Nov. 2020 DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said DeWine was specifically talking about traditional fitness centers, with treadmills, free weights and elliptical machines, where patrons generally don’t wear masks. Brenda Cain, cleveland, "Independent Ohio gyms balk at prospect of a second shut down as coronavirus surges (photos)," 13 Nov. 2020 True Fitness Technology has acquired Octane Fitness Holdings, a manufacturer of elliptical fitness machines. Staff Reports Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Minnesota mergers and acquisitions," 25 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Simply put, the moon glides across an elliptical that is constantly rotating around the zodiac. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Your Guide to Lunar & Solar Eclipses in 2021 and How They’ll Affect Your Life," 23 Dec. 2020 But what little there has been — my wife, Ruth, behind a closed door on a Zoom call; me in the basement on the elliptical — has caused whimpering and whining. John Kelly, Washington Post, "More dog tales: We’re learning the quirks of Archie the rescue," 8 Nov. 2020 And while the Fold did weigh heavily in my gym shorts pocket, the larger display was just perfect for reading on the elliptical. Mike Feibus, USA TODAY, "Smartphone or tablet? What is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 really and is it for you?," 8 Sep. 2020 In his first year of retirement, Mike lost 40 pounds by hitting the elliptical and rowing machines at the gym, then gradually lost another 15. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "If Mobile looks a little cleaner, thank Mike Wilber," 25 Aug. 2020 So where to start without shelling out thousands on an exercise bike or elliptical? Tanya Edwards, CNN Underscored, "Home gym equipment under $150 that’ll make you sweat," 29 July 2020 Connected rowing machines, treadmills, mirrors and ellipticals were ubiquitous. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Is Peloton a Fitness Fad or a Tech Company? Everything’s Riding on the Answer," 17 Jan. 2020 Best deals on workout equipment Walmart: Black Friday is the best time to splurge on big-ticket exercise equipment with major markdowns on treadmills, exercise bikes, and ellipticals at Walmart. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "The Best Black Friday Health and Wellness Deals to Shop Today," 29 Nov. 2019 This was well-equipped, with a row of treadmills overlooking the water, bikes, a rowing machine, ellipticals, weight machines, free weights, stability balls and mats, plus a group fitness room. Elizabeth Chang, Washington Post, "They equated cruises with excess, so these first-timers set sail with a focus on wellness," 4 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for elliptical

Time Traveler

The first known use of elliptical was in 1656

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Statistics for elliptical

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Elliptical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elliptical. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for elliptical


How to pronounce elliptical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of elliptical

: shaped like a flattened circle
: using few words and therefore hard to understand


el·​lip·​ti·​cal | \ i-ˈlip-ti-kəl How to pronounce elliptical (audio) \
variants: or elliptic \ -​tik \

Kids Definition of elliptical

: having the shape of an ellipse an elliptical orbit

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Comments on elliptical

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