One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a spheroid) lengthened in the direction of a polar diameter.Often contrasted with oblate
- ‘Its shape resembles that of a prolate ellipsoid.’
- ‘This ratio suggests that the enzyme-inhibitor complex can be described as prolate ellipsoid, for reasons discussed before.’
- ‘The corresponding axial ratios were 1.14 for a prolate ellipsoid and 1.16 for an oblate ellipsoid.’
- ‘Hydrodynamic and small angle x-ray scattering measurements show that plant MSP has an extended, prolate ellipsoid shape in solution.’
- ‘The equations were further confirmed by observing the shape of the earth to be oblate spheroidal, as Newton claimed it should be, rather than prolate spheroidal, as claimed by the Cartesians.’
Late 17th century: from Latin prolatus ‘carried forward’, past participle of proferre ‘prolong’, from pro- ‘forward’ + ferre ‘carry’.
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