1 of 2


: flattened or depressed at the poles
an oblate spheroid
oblateness noun


2 of 2


ob·​late ˈä-ˌblāt How to pronounce oblate (audio)
: a layman living in a monastery under a modified rule and without vows
: a member of one of several Roman Catholic communities of men or women

Examples of oblate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Instead our star is actually a little squished, or oblate. Sarah Scoles, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2024 But because the earth is an oblate spheroid, the sea level at the Equator is some 14 miles farther from the center of the earth than the sea level at the North Pole. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2023 Planet Earth is shaped more like an oblate spheroid which looks like a flatter circle. Emy Rodriguez Flores, Popular Mechanics, 10 Jan. 2023 Because the Earth rotates, that shape gets compressed at the poles and bulges in the middle, forming a shape known as an oblate spheroid. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 19 Mar. 2021 Still, those oblate derrieres acknowledge that the flat stovetops of our Western kitchens make a rounded cooking vessel difficult to use. James P. Dewan, chicagotribune.com, 16 Feb. 2018
In the north, Solomon knew, young oblates, the cherished daughters of gentlewomen, were given to the Lord out of the ranks of the nobility. Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023 But Earth is an oblate spheroid, meaning a 3D shape created by an ellipsis that’s rotating around its shorter axis—like a more rounded jelly donut. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 12 Feb. 2020 This was unexpected at Jupiter—a heavy, fast rotating, oblate (flattened at the poles) planet. Andrew Coates, Newsweek, 8 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oblate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from New Latin oblātus, from ob- ob- + -lātus (in prōlātus prolate)


probably borrowed from French oblat, going back to Middle French, "layperson living in a religious community after bequeathing it property," borrowed from Medieval Latin oblātus "person (as a child) given over to a monastery," derivative of oblātus, adjective, "given over (to a religious community)," going back to Latin, suppletive past participle of offerre "to put in a person's path, provide, offer entry 1" — more at tolerate

First Known Use


1705, in the meaning defined above


1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oblate was in 1693

Dictionary Entries Near oblate

Cite this Entry

“Oblate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblate. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

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