An ellipse is a special kind of oval that is mathematically regular, with two lines of symmetry. We usually think of it as looking like a "flattened" or "stretched" circle. Mathematically, a circle is a special case of an ellipse, where the minor (smallest diameter of ellipse) and major axis (largest diameter of ellipse) are equal. This is similar to how a square is a special case of a rectangle where all the sides have equal lengths. Below is an example of an ellipse.

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The paths (orbits) of the planets around the sun are elliptical.

See also oval.

Related word elliptical.