Table of Contents

Last modified on April 25th, 2024

An oval is a curved, closed shape with a slightly tapered end on one side. On the other hand, an ellipse is also a curved, closed shape with its sides uniformly tapered. Thus, an ellipse has a balanced geometric look. In contrast, an oval has one of its ends more round than the other. See the difference in their shapes in the diagram given below.

There are many differences between an oval and an ellipse.

An oval is somewhat similar to the shape of an egg. However, the shape of an ellipse is like a stretched or squeezed circle. It has a symmetrical shape, unlike an oval.

Let us learn some more differences between an oval and an ellipse in tabular form :

Oval | Ellipse |
---|---|

It does not satisfy the symmetry of its axes (major and minor). | Its centre divides both the axes (major and minor) symmetrically. |

It is formed from arcs from three unequal circles. | It is formed from a straight plane intersecting a right circular cone at an angle greater than zero. |

It has a center. | Its center divides both the axes (major and minor) symmetrically. |

It has no fixed or focal points. | It has two focal points on the major axis. |

It does not satisfy the properties of focal points. | It satisfies the properties of focal points. (i.e. a straight line passing through one focal point hitting at any point on the border would be reflected straight to the other focal point). |

Last modified on April 25th, 2024

I commend you on an excellent and valuable explanation of the difference between an oval and an ellipse. In looking at 5 other websites, they could not provide the difference in several paragraphs so that the non-mathematician reader could understand what they were saying. You presented a simple picture and then provided an easy-to-understand table of the differences for further clarification. Fantastic!

Thank you.

This is interesting. I always thought of an oval as the shape of a typical racetrack, with semicircular ends connected by straightaways. Like at high-school track meets and horseracing tracks. So, if you define an oval as an egg-shape, what is the shape that I have always called an oval?

The shape you described is called a ’rounded rectangle.’