Definition of ellipse in English:



  • A regular oval shape, traced by a point moving in a plane so that the sum of its distances from two other points (the foci) is constant, or resulting when a cone is cut by an oblique plane which does not intersect the base.

    • ‘Well, he discovered, in the elliptical function, that the Sun was located at one of the two foci of the relevant ellipse.’
    • ‘The rate at which a planet sweeps out area within its orbital ellipse is constant.’
    • ‘The orbit of the Earth is an ellipse, not a circle, so different quarters of the orbit take different lengths of time to complete.’
    • ‘It was shaped a bit oblong, like an ellipse with a very large major axis, almost to the point of not being a cigar.’
    • ‘An ellipse has two foci, i.e. two centres, unlike the circle that has just one.’
    • ‘Then it is shown that the displacement vector lies in a plane, and if the base point is translated to the origin, the endpoint traces out an ellipse.’
    • ‘Here we examine this in detail, first looking at the case of a circular toroid deformed into an ellipse.’
    • ‘There are three non-degenerate conics: the ellipse, the parabola, and the hyperbola.’
    • ‘In contrast, an oval or an ellipse is longer than it is wide.’
    • ‘Principal components of the matrix were calculated and used to orient the ellipse in the plane.’
    • ‘The first law states that the orbit of a satellite is an ellipse, and that one of the foci of the ellipse must be located at the centre of the Earth.’
    • ‘He described the construction of an ellipse with a string fixed at the two foci.’
    • ‘Additional liturgical areas are designed as concave spaces bulging the ellipse outwardly.’
    • ‘For example he shows how to deform a circle into an ellipse and proves other results on deforming conic sections.’
    • ‘To imagine their form, picture an ellipse levitating up from the floor, turning as it rises.’
    • ‘An additional complication is that the Earth's orbit is not quite an exact circle, but an ellipse.’
    • ‘If the optical component to be machined is a mirror, and the object to be imaged with that mirror is located at a finite distance, the shape will be an ellipse.’
    • ‘But I could explain the discrepancy if the orbit were an ellipse rather than a circle.’
    • ‘Over the course of a year the changing position of the star traced out a small ellipse.’
    • ‘The direction in which it spins, and the size and shape of the ellipse, give me information about the strength and quality of the energy in that area.’


Late 17th century: via French from Latin ellipsis (see ellipsis).