[ ih-lip-ti-kuhl ]
See synonyms for elliptical on Thesaurus.com
adjectiveAlso el·lip·tic.
  1. pertaining to or having the form of an ellipse.

  2. pertaining to or marked by grammatical ellipsis.

  1. (of speech or writing) expressed with extreme or excessive economy; relieved of irrelevant matter: to converse in elliptical sentences.

  2. (of a style of speaking or writing) tending to be ambiguous, cryptic, or obscure: an elliptical prose that is difficult to translate.

  1. Astronomy. elliptical galaxy.

Origin of elliptical

1650–60; <Greek elleiptik(ós) defective (see ellipsis, -tic) + -al1

Other words from elliptical

  • el·lip·ti·cal·ness, noun
  • non·el·lip·tic, adjective
  • non·el·lip·ti·cal, adjective
  • non·el·lip·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·el·lip·ti·cal, adjective
  • o·ver·el·lip·ti·cal·ly, adverb
  • sub·el·lip·tic, adjective
  • sub·el·lip·ti·cal, adjective
  • un·el·lip·ti·cal, adjective

Words Nearby elliptical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use elliptical in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for elliptical


/ (ɪˈlɪptɪkəl) /

  1. relating to or having the shape of an ellipse

  2. relating to or resulting from ellipsis

  1. (of speech, literary style, etc)

    • very condensed or concise, often so as to be obscure or ambiguous

    • circumlocutory or long-winded

  • Also (for senses 1, 2): elliptic

usage For elliptical

The use of elliptical to mean circumlocutory should be avoided as it may be interpreted wrongly as meaning condensed or concise

Derived forms of elliptical

  • elliptically, adverb
  • ellipticalness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012