ob·​long | \ˈä-ˌblȯŋ \

Definition of oblong 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: deviating from a square, circular, or spherical form by elongation in one dimension an oblong piece of paper an oblong melon — see leaf illustration



Definition of oblong (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is oblong These paintings, predominately black with vertical or horizontal bisections of white mixed with streaks of red, blue, or ochre, are reminiscent of … Mark Rothko's irradiated oblongs.The New Yorker

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Did You Know?

Oblong is a general but useful term for describing the shape of things such as leaves. There's no such thing as an oblong circle, since a stretched circle has to be called an oval, and any rectangle that isn't square is oblong, at least if it's lying on its side (such rectangles can actually be called oblongs). Pills are generally oblong rather than round, to slide down the throat more easily. An oblong table will often fit a living space better than a square or round one with the same area. And people are always buried in oblong boxes.

Examples of oblong in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Stabilo Worker+ looks like something dreamed up by Apollo-era NASA, bulbous and oblong but still somehow attractively aerodynamic. Yang-yi Goh, GQ, "The Best Pens Under $10 Will Make Your Handwriting Legible," 25 June 2018 Before me is the robotic kitchen, which does all the cooking: A bright orange, oblong runner darts friskily back and forth along a track as hoppers dump ingredients into seven woks below. Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "Robots made me lunch. I enjoyed it. Is that so wrong?," 8 May 2018 With a flick of the wrist, Osmic coils it into a small, oblong spiral the size of a dinner plate and pops it into the oven. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Burek, bread, baklava: 3 Balkan bakeries and restaurants for some of the best comfort food in Phoenix," 28 Mar. 2018 The lower level of the park would be defined largely by a 9,300-square-foot dog park and a broad entry plaza connected to a small, oblong lawn at the corner of Bay and Hyde streets. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "Russian Hill park expected on abandoned reservoir," 14 Mar. 2018 Chocolate persimmon: The name comes from the color, not the taste, of the chocolate-brown flesh inside this slightly squatty, oblong fruit. Houston Chronicle, "Urban Havest's sale is the place gardeners find fruit trees for the Houston area," 5 Jan. 2018 The room’s tall, oblong windows, refurbished by Irons but unchanged in their positioning, are aligned to offer views that look out, as confirmed by my iPhone’s compass, precisely to the north, south, east, and west. David Kamp, Vanities, "How Jeremy Irons Rescued and Restored a 15th-Century Irish Castle," 22 Sep. 2017 Produced in Parma, Italy, the bottle was designed by Andre Mellone, with an oblong gold diffuser top with smooth curves, giving the juice a dusty-rose color. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "This New Perfume Smells Like Warm Silk," 25 Aug. 2017 This comet orbits the sun in a much more oblong path than Earth’s orbit. Eric Elwell, ajc, "Forget the eclipse. There’s a big show in the sky this week," 7 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oblong.' 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 oblong


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1590, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oblong


Middle English, from Anglo-French oblonge, from Latin oblongus, from ob- toward + longus long — more at long

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Time Traveler for oblong

The first known use of oblong was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for oblong


ob·​long | \ˈä-ˌblȯŋ \

Kids Definition of oblong

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: different from a square, circle, or sphere by being longer in one direction than the other an oblong tablecloth an oblong melon



Kids Definition of oblong (Entry 2 of 2)

: a figure or object that is larger in one direction than the other

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More from Merriam-Webster on oblong

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oblong

Spanish Central: Translation of oblong

Nglish: Translation of oblong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblong for Arabic Speakers

Comments on oblong

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


to enclose within walls

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