Glossary of shapes with metaphorical names
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Many shapes have metaphorical names, i.e., their names are metaphors: these shapes are named after a most common object that has it. For example, "U-shape" is a shape that resembles the letter U, a bell-shaped curve has the shape of the vertical cross-section of a bell, etc.
Some of these names are "classical terms", i.e., words of Latin or Ancient Greek etymology. Others are English language constructs (although the base words may have non-English etymology). In some disciplines, where shapes of subjects in question are a very important consideration, the shape naming may be quite elaborate, see, e.g., the taxonomy of shapes of plant leaves in botany.
- Bell-shaped curve
- Biconic shape, a shape in a way opposite to the hourglass: it is based on two oppositely oriented cones or truncated cones with their bases joined. The cones are not necessarily the same.
- Bow shape
- Bullet Nose†, an open-ended hourglass
- Butterfly curve†
- Cocked Hat curve, also known as Bicorn†
- Cone (from the Greek word for « pine cone »)
- Egg-shaped, see "Oval", below
- Fish bladder or Lens shape (the latter taking its name from the shape of the lentil seed)
- Geoid (From Greek Ge (γη) for "Earth"), the term specifically introduced to denote the approximation of the shape of the Earth, which is approximately spherical, but not exactly so.
- Heart shape, long been used for its varied symbolism
- Hourglass shape or hourglass figure, the one that resembles an hourglass. If one takes two copies of a shape wide at one end that narrows to the other end and connects them symmetrically by the narrow ends, the resulting shape is usually called an "hourglass shape". In other words, an hourglass shape is a (nearly) symmetric shape wide at its ends and narrow in the middle. Some flat shapes may be alternatively compared to the figure eight or hourglass. The classical female body shape is often compared to an hourglass.
- Inverted bell
- Lune, from the Latin word for the Moon
- Maltese Cross curve†
- Mushroom shape, which became infamous as a result of the mushroom cloud.
- Oval (from the Latin "ovum" for « egg »), a descriptive term applied to several kinds of "rounded" shapes, including the egg shape
- Pear shaped, in reference to the shape of a pear, i.e., a generally rounded shape, tapered towards the top and more spherical/circular at the bottom. The term acquired a number of metaphorical meanings.
- Rod, a 3-dimensional, solid (filled) cylinder.
- Scarabaeus curve†, resembling a scarab
- Stadium, two half-circles joined by straight sides†
- Stirrup curve†
Letters and numbers
- C-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter C
- D-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter D
- E-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter E
- H-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter H
- I-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter I in a serif font, i.e., with horizontal strokes
- J-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter J
- K-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter K
- L-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter L
- N-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter N (interchangeable with the Z-shape)
- S-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter S
- T-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter T
- U-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter U
- V-shape, the shape that resembles the letter V, also known as the Chevron (which includes the inverted-V shape)
- X-shape, the shape that resembles the letter X, also known as a Saltire
- Y-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter Y and refers to various bifurcations, when a narrow shape is split into two at one end. Known as a Pall in heraldry, it is sometimes referred to as "forked shape" or simply "fork".
- Z-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter Z (interchangeable with the N-shape)
- Figure 8, called a lemniscate in geometry, symbol for infinity when laid on its side
- List of geometric shapes
- The category:Curves lists numerous metaphorical names, such as