"having the longitudinal shape of an egg, elliptical," 1570s, from Modern Latin ovalis "egg-shaped" (source of French oval, 1540s), literally "of or pertaining to an egg," from Latin ovum "egg" (see ovum). The classical Latin word was ovatus (source of ovate (adj.)). Related: Ovalness (1727); ovality (1823). Oval Office "office of the president of the United States in the White House" has been used since 1942 metonymically for "the presidency."
1560s, "a plane figure in the general shape of the lengthwise outline of an egg," from French ovalle "oval figure," from noun use of Medieval Latin ovalis "of or pertaining to an egg," from Latin ovum "egg" (see ovary). The earliest use of the word in English (mid-15c.) was in reference to a Roman crown awarded as the symbol of an ovatio (see ovation).
updated on December 07, 2020