Definition of elliptical in English:



  • 1(of speech or writing) using or involving ellipsis, especially so as to be difficult to understand.

    ‘elliptical colloquial exchanges’
    ‘she had completely misunderstood his elliptical declaration’
    • ‘The writing may be a bit elliptical, but it's fun, which most food columns tend not to be.’
    • ‘This is not an easy task because of Knight's elliptical writing style.’
    • ‘The construction ‘the shiraz impresses’ seems to be elliptical, with an implied object complement that is not expressed, rather than being a genuinely intransitive verb.’
    • ‘Frost's text at times verges on the obtuse - her language and often convoluted and elliptical form of writing may well daunt the less academic reader.’
    • ‘The elliptical questions should be generally acceptable, since they don't have soon (with its usual component of afterness) in combination with before.’
    • ‘It never strives to say anything in particular, and the backroom drama-what there is of it anyway-is so brief, oblique and elliptical that it merely provides an air of impromptu, on-the-fly context for the dance numbers.’
    • ‘To come to understand the grounds for this last rather elliptical claim, we must consider the logical status of ‘God is good.’’
    • ‘That is a phrase which, in our respectful submission, is also apt to mislead, it being an elliptical noun phrase.’
    • ‘When little observations popped out, they had elliptical power.’
    • ‘Cocteau, he added, protected his speech with short, tense and elliptical lines which formed a barrier between himself and the reader.’
    • ‘But his account is delivered in the same elliptical, insiders' fashion as the speeches that follow, and so requires as much exegesis and commentary as anything else in the book.’
    • ‘At times, elliptical speech or writing is so concise that listeners and readers must supply missing elements through guesswork or special knowledge, and if they cannot, they fail to understand.’
    • ‘I know about than the preposition vs. than the introducer of elliptical clauses, but this example took me (intuitively, not analytically) aback.’
    • ‘The elephant's road to freedom links up with a city dweller making a hard choice in a treacherous world, and in Sommers's hands, it all makes elliptical sense.’
    • ‘In each case, elliptical writing conveys too little.’
    • ‘Bush was as elliptical in his victory speech about what lies ahead in Iraq as about the domestic issues he touched on, which included the economy, taxes, Social Security and education.’
    • ‘No, what puzzled us was Chuck Colson's elliptical logic and weird similes.’
    • ‘Watching it now it seems even stranger that its oblique characters and elliptical, alien scenes of remote mountain-town malaise managed to hypnotise so many people for two series.’
    terse, concise, succinct, compact, economic, brief, laconic, sparing, pithy, curt, clipped
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  • 2

    another term for elliptic
    • ‘The north face of the building is concave, completing the elliptical pattern that begins in the courtyard.’
    • ‘He noted that if the bob was drawn back and released then it followed an elliptical path, and moreover the major axis rotated in the direction of revolution exactly as did the apsides of the moon's orbit.’
    • ‘The Earth's orbit changes from being almost a perfect circle to its elliptical form and then back again.’
    • ‘It consists of four parts, the elliptical garden incorporating an oval pool, the Yew garden, the upper terrace and a lower terrace and pergola, all four linked by a terrace which once fronted the original house.’
    • ‘Glossy deep green oval or elliptical leaves grow up to 18 inches long and 5 inches wide.’
    • ‘Small ovoid and elliptical silver baskets were made in the neoclassical style to hold sugar as part of the tea service.’
    • ‘He had achieved this by the time he was eighteen but at this stage he did not know even that the moon and planets described elliptical orbits.’
    • ‘If you look closely, you can see my chainrings aren't just oval or elliptical as others have been, but is elliptical in three dimensions.’
    • ‘Visitors will be able to walk beneath the concave underside of the elliptical bean-shaped form.’
    • ‘For two bodies, the solution is easy: the two bodies move around each other in elliptical orbits - or follow parabolic or hyperbolic paths in some special cases.’
    • ‘These are spiral, elliptical, barred spiral and irregular.’
    • ‘Once you understand elliptical orbits in the classical model, the relativistic model is really a minor modification of it in the cases we are talking about (with much more complex maths).’
    • ‘Cells are oval or elliptical in shape, with the maximum width of the cell at about the midpoint of its length.’
    • ‘He guessed that the original cutting stylus was defective and so he tried a custom-made reproducing stylus, instead of the usual conical or elliptical styli.’
    • ‘Newton favoured comets having parabolic orbits, but Halley believed that elliptical orbits might exist.’
    • ‘He appears to be shuffling the decks in an elliptical power move.’
    • ‘Clutch size is two and eggs are white, non-glossy and an elliptical oval shape.’
    • ‘They are often elliptical in shape, but sometimes possess hexagonal outlines.’
    • ‘Throughout time, there has been a continual change in the eccentricity of the elliptical orbit.’
    • ‘Its elliptical paraboloid shape was selected because it could be easily described mathematically, simplifying both design and construction.’
    oval, egg-shaped, elliptic, ovate, ovoid, oviform, ellipsoidal
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