el·​lip·​ti·​cal | \ i-ˈlip-ti-kəl How to pronounce elliptical (audio) , e- \
variants: or elliptic \ i-​ˈlip-​tik How to pronounce elliptic (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 elliptically (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 The grounds offer an elliptical swimming pool, a fountain, an immaculately manicured rose garden and a small guest house. Peter Kiefer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Famed Beverly Hills Estate of Robert Evans Sells to Discovery CEO for $16M," 8 Jan. 2020 In the wake of her hurt knees, Harris revamped her routine, switching from the treadmill to the elliptical and spending more time doing core and leg strength training. Zoe Greenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Exercise resolutions abound in January — as well as gym injuries," 8 Jan. 2020 Alistair McDowall’s play was one such trip, filled with elliptical plot twists, strange scenes and actors willing to go to the wall to tell this story of lonely people in a cold city with emptiness and corruption at its heart. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Theater Top 10 in Chicago in 2019: A celebration of the explosive work of powerful women," 24 Nov. 2019 Cut into its center is an elliptical slash that shows a lighted shelf for sculpture. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$2M mansion on the side of a hill is made for art and cider lovers," 2 Nov. 2019 The individual narratives, many of which were drawn from Shange’s personal experiences, are often dense and elliptical in their imagery. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "‘For Colored Girls’ Review: Ntozake Shange’s Women Endure," 22 Oct. 2019 The writing, elliptical and at moments elusive, is puzzle-like in its approach. Los Angeles Times, "Ain Gordon unmasks gay history in ‘217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous’," 13 Oct. 2019 The data also reveals that its orbit isn’t perfectly circular, taking a fairly elliptical shape, instead. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "A gas giant planet that couldn’t have formed the way Jupiter did," 1 Oct. 2019 An oscillating hydrofoil resembles an aircraft wing, but with a symmetrical elliptical cross section that allows for energy harvesting as the tide ebbs and flows. Shweta Narayan, Smithsonian, "How Engineers of New Energy Technology Are Taking Cues From Nature," 31 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The Active Sports Bra features moisture-wicking foam cups that not only reduce the under boob sweat but also provide support and comfort for medium impact sports (such as hiking, cycling, strength training and ellipticals). Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "The 7 Best High Impact Sports Bras For All Sizes," 22 Oct. 2019 Staph bacteria were found on the surface of every piece of exercise equipment tested, including free weights, weight machines, ellipticals, stationary bikes and treadmills. Scott Douglas, Washington Post, "Your gym is teeming with invisible members: Germs. Here’s how to avoid them.," 29 July 2019 Staph bacteria were found on the surface of every piece of exercise equipment tested, including free weights, weight machines, ellipticals, stationary bikes and treadmills. Scott Douglas, sun-sentinel.com, "Your gym is teeming with invisible members: Germs. Here’s how to avoid them.," 29 July 2019 Traditional fitness equipment NordicTrack has had to rework its collection, too, to offer on-demand classes across bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills to compete against Peloton’s offerings. Natt Garun, The Verge, "The future of fitness is together but alone," 18 July 2019 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

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

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elliptical.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elliptical. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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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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