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[oh-vuh l] /ˈoʊ vəl/
having the general form, shape, or outline of an egg; egg-shaped.
ellipsoidal or elliptical.
an object of oval shape.
a body or plane figure that is oval in shape or outline.
an elliptical field or a field on which an elliptical track is laid out, as for athletic contests.
Informal. a football.
Origin of oval
1560-70; < New Latin ōvālis, equivalent to Latin ōv(um) egg1 + -ālis -al1
Related forms
ovally, adverb
ovalness, noun
half-oval, adjective, noun
pseudooval, adjective
pseudoovally, adverb
semioval, adjective
semiovally, adverb
semiovalness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oval
  • The long oval table common to a boardroom lets small groups of people see and hear one another while sitting comfortably.
  • Scientists had debated whether stars in our inner galaxy clustered in a long bar, an oval, or a combination of the two shapes.
  • Ending its course by striking the hipbone obliquely, the bullet was bent out of shape, its base oval rather than round.
  • As lunchtime came and went, pastries disappeared from the middle of a long oval conference table.
  • Dropping a diamond into an oval is baseball's variation of the square peg-round hole conundrum.
  • On the first floor, an oval-shaped structure with translucent walls houses the ticket office and a concession stand.
  • The left-hand part of the figure appears as three shiny oval tubes.
  • Maps of the universe have been presented in oval form whereas it is actually circular with the observer dead center.
  • They're in a setting of an oriental harem, in a large oval room with divans and a lot of cushions around the walls.
  • The bear paw, an oval design, was short and wide and favored in forested areas.
British Dictionary definitions for oval


having the shape of an ellipse or ellipsoid
anything that is oval in shape, such as a sports ground
Derived Forms
ovally, adverb
ovalness, ovality (əʊˈvælɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin ōvālis, from Latin ōvum egg


the Oval, a cricket ground in south London, in the borough of Lambeth
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
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Word Origin and History for oval

1570s, from Modern Latin ovalis "egg-shaped" (source of French oval, 1540s), literally "of or pertaining to an egg," from Latin ovum "egg" (see ovary). The classical Latin word was ovatus.


1560s, from Middle French ovalle "oval figure," from Medieval Latin ovalis (see oval (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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