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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. These terms may variously refer to objects, their cross sections or projections.

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.

Numbers and letters


  • A-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter A A-frame, the shape of a common structure that resembles the capital letter A A-frame house, a common style of house construction A-line skirt or dress
  • B-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter B
  • C-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter C
  • D-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter D D-ring
  • Deltoid, the shape that resembles the Greek capital letter Δ Deltahedron Deltoid muscle River delta
  • E-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter E Magnetic cores of transformers may be E-shaped A number of notable buildings have an E-shaped floorplan
  • F-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter F
  • Figure 0, the shape that resembles the numeral 0
  • Figure 1, the shape that resembles the numeral 1
  • Figure 2, the shape that resembles the numeral 2
  • Figure 3, the shape that resembles the numeral 3
  • Figure 4, the shape that resembles the numeral 4
  • Figure 5, the shape that resembles the numeral 5
  • Figure 6, the shape that resembles the numeral 6
  • Figure 7, the shape that resembles the numeral 7
  • Figure 8, the shape that resembles the numeral 8
  • Figure 9, the shape that resembles the numeral 9
  • G-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter G
  • H-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter H H-beam, a beam with H-shaped section Goals in several sports (gridiron football (old style), Gaelic football, rugby, hurling) are described as "H-shaped"
  • I-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter I in a serif font, i.e., with horizontal strokes I-beam, a beam with an I-shaped section The court in the Mesoamerican ballgame is I-shaped
  • J-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter J
  • K-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter K K Turn
  • L-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter L The L-Shaped Room L game L-shaped recession
  • Lemniscate, the shape that resembles the numeral
  • M-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter M (interchangeable with the W-shape)
  • N-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter N (interchangeable with the Z-shape)
  • O-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter O O-ring
  • P-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter P P-trap, a P-shaped pipe under a sink or basin
  • Q-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter Q
  • R-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter R
  • S-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter S The sigmoid colon, an S-shaped bend in the human intestine
  • T-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter T T junction T-shaped (chemistry) T-shaped skills, a format for résumés T-shirt
  • U-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter U U-shaped valley U-turn U-shaped recession
  • Hyoid, the shape that resembles the Greek letter υ Hyoid bone
  • V-shape, the shape that resembles the letter V, also known as the Chevron (which includes the inverted-V shape) V-shaped valley V-shaped recession V-shaped body – male human body shape with broad shoulders V-shaped passage grave V sign
  • W-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter W (interchangeable with the M-shape) W-shaped recession
  • X-shape, the shape that resembles the letter X Saltire
  • Chiasm, crossings that resemble the Greek letter χ Chiasmus Chiastic structure Optic chiasm
  • Y-shape, the shape that resembles the letter Y Y-front briefs Pall
  • Z-shape, the shape that resembles the capital letter Z (interchangeable with the N-shape)

See also


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