ob·​long | \ ˈä-ˌblȯŋ How to pronounce oblong (audio) \

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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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 Remember, a football is oblong and pointed at each end. Chris Hays, orlandosentinel.com, 1 Oct. 2021 Haskap berries are, indeed, irregularly shaped, often oblong, but do look like blueberries, with the same skin color and patina. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 22 July 2021 Palestinian simsim — an oblong, bagel-like sesame bread — comes in bun form, intended for breakfast sandwiches with brown butter labneh and fried halloumi cheese. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Aug. 2021 At Al Forno, this process is simplified: Rather than being lifted and stretched in the air, each ball of dough is coated in oil, then pushed out with fingertips on top of an aluminum baking sheet into an irregular, oblong shape. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021 However, Hubble was able to provide an awe-inspiring new look at this galactic trio, including its signature swirl and oblong streak -- which somewhat resembles a bubble releasing from a bubble wand. Dominic Rech, CNN, 5 Aug. 2021 On a wooden tray that’s just been set on a marble tabletop inside the sumptuous F. Scott Fitzgerald suite at the Ritz Paris hotel, lies a trio of long, slim, oblong-shaped pastries that look vaguely familiar. Vivian Song, Robb Report, 1 June 2021 New school furniture – such as individual tables instead of oblong shared tables – was ordered to accommodate social distancing. Chelsea Sheasley, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Aug. 2021 And the Hallandale Beach water tower, painted to resemble an oblong beach ball, looms nearby, right at rooftop eye level, practically begging swimmers to reach out and toss it around the pool. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, 11 Aug. 2021

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 oblonge, oblong, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French oblonge, borrowed from Latin oblongus "of greater length than breadth," from ob-, perhaps in sense "facing, against" + longus "having linear extent, long" — more at ob-, long entry 1


derivative of oblong entry 1

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Time Traveler for oblong

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

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oblong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblong. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for oblong



English Language Learners Definition of oblong

: longer in one direction than in the other direction
: having four straight sides that meet at right angles and having two opposite sides that are short and two opposite sides that are long


ob·​long | \ ˈä-ˌblȯŋ How to pronounce oblong (audio) \

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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