Shapes English Vocabulary

Revisado porNataliia Afonina / más sobre Proceso editorial
Welcome to your language journey!
  • - 01

    Learn through the article!

  • - 02

    Pass a language test

  • - 03

    Check the results

  • - 04

    Subscribe to reach fluency!

girl point on notes

Learning a new language can seem like a challenging task, but it becomes easier when you break it down into specific categories. One of those categories, which you will learn today, is shape vocabulary. This guide aims to help English language learners understand and use vocabulary related to shapes.

Master Shapes in English: A Comprehensive Vocabulary Guide

Basic Shapes Vocabulary

As a newcomer to the English language, understanding the basic shapes is essential. They provide a foundation for describing objects in your daily life.

  • Circle: a round shape where all the points are at the same distance from the center. For example, a coin has the form of a circle.
  • Triangle: a shape with three sides and three corners; often used in everyday conversation to describe items or situations with three main points.
  • Square: a shape with four equal sides and right angles; often used to describe something with an equal length and width. Chessboard has a square shape.
  • Rectangle: a shape with four sides and four right angles; typically used when describing something longer than it is wide. Laptops usually come in rectangle shapes.
  • Polygon: a basic term to describe a flat shape with many straight sides; used in mathematics or to describe complex structures.

Now that you've learned these basic shape terms, you can accurately describe a variety of everyday items. Keep practicing, as these terms will frequently appear in your English language journey.

Advanced Shape Vocabulary

Once you're comfortable with basic shapes, advanced shape vocabulary will further enrich your language skills. These terms will help you to describe more complex objects and structures.

  • Ellipse: a shape resembling a flattened circle; commonly used when discussing planetary orbits or ovals.
  • Parallelogram: a figure that has four sides, where opposite lines are parallel; typically used to describe rectangular objects with a slant.
  • Rhombus: a type of parallelogram with equal sides, but not necessarily right angles; often used when describing diamonds or kite-like shapes.
  • Trapezoid: a four-sided figure with only one pair of parallel sides; useful when describing certain buildings or geometric figures.
  • Pentagon: a shape with five sides and five angles; commonly used when referring to the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters.
  • Cube: a three-dimensional shape with six square faces; often used to describe objects like dice or boxes.
  • Cylinder: a three-dimensional shape with two parallel circular bases and a curved surface connecting them; used when describing objects like cans or tubes.
  • Sphere: a perfectly round three-dimensional shape; often used when talking about objects like balls or planets.
  • Cone: a three-dimensional shape with a circular base that narrows to a point; commonly used when discussing objects like birthday caps.
  • Hexagon: a shape with six sides and six angles; used when discussing beehives and snowflakes.
  • Octagon: a figure that has eight sides and eight angles; often used in reference to stop signs or certain architectural designs.
  • Pyramid: a three-dimensional shape with a polygonal base and triangular faces that converge to a single point; used when discussing certain buildings or historical monuments.

Understanding these different shapes will allow you to communicate more detailed descriptions of objects and figures. Remember to practice using these words to ensure they become a natural part of your English vocabulary.


Geometric Terms

Apart from specific shape names, there are also important geometric terms that will enhance your understanding of shapes. These terms are used to explain the properties and characteristics of all shapes.

  • Vertex: the point where two lines or edges meet to form an angle; used in geometry to define the corners of shapes.
  • Edge: a line segment connecting two vertices in a polygon; a term often used when discussing 2D or 3D shapes.
  • Angle: the space between two intersecting lines or surfaces at the point where they meet.
  • Right Angle: a right angle is an angle that measures exactly 90 degrees. When two lines intersect to form a right angle, they are said to be perpendicular to each other.
  • Acute Angle: an acute angle is an angle that measures less than 90 degrees. It is smaller than a right angle. Acute angles are typically found in triangles.
  • Obtuse Angle: An obtuse angle is an angle that measures more than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees. It is larger than a right angle. Obtuse angles are often found in various shapes, such as rhombus.
  • Straight Angle: A straight angle is an angle that measures exactly 180 degrees. It is a line that forms a straight path. When two rays are aligned with each other, they form a straight angle.
  • Symmetry: when two shapes look the same when you flip, move, or turn them.  often used to describe objects that are balanced or harmonious.

By learning these geometric terms, you're not only expanding your vocabulary but also gaining insight into the rules that govern different shapes. Continue to integrate these words into your conversations to make them a regular part of your English language use.

Shapes in Everyday Life

English is filled with idioms and phrases that make use of types of shapes. Here are some examples that you may encounter in everyday English conversation.

  • Roundabout: a circular place where three or more roads meet; used in traffic or transportation discussions.
  • Square meal: a balanced meal; commonly used in conversations about food.
  • Circle the wagons: a phrase meaning to unite in defense of a common interest; often used in business or political discussions.
  • Back to square one: this means to start over again from the beginning after a failure or setback. The phrase supposedly comes from the game of snakes and ladders, where landing on a snake would send you back to the beginning.
  • Go around in circles: this means to keep doing or talking about the same thing without achieving anything. This idiom often refers to discussions or meetings where no progress is being made.
  • Square peg in a round hole: this refers to an individual or thing that does not fit into a particular situation or role. The phrase comes from the challenge of trying to insert a square object into a round hole.
  • Circle the drain: this idiom means that something is gradually failing or declining, and it seems likely to end or be eliminated soon. It often refers to businesses, projects, or even personal health.

These idioms and phrases provide a glimpse into the figurative language of English. As you continue to learn, you'll find these expressions popping up in various contexts, adding color and depth to your English conversations.


Learning the names of shapes in English not only improves your language skills but can also helps you understand and describe the world around you. Remember, practice makes perfect, so use these new words in your daily English conversations. Whether you're talking about architecture, food, or even basketball, you're sure to find a use for your new vocabulary.

Make your next step to fluency with Promova

Shapes Quiz
¡Obtén una revisión de tus habilidades y sigue tu progreso a medida que mejoras!
10 min
10 preguntas
Hacer la prueba
Try Promova
Learn English with a handy app full of awesome lessons!
Vocabulary Related to Numbers in EnglishVocabulary of Cardinal Numbers in EnglishVocabulary of Ordinal Numbers in EnglishVocabulary of Decimal NumbersFractions Vocabulary in EnglishRoman Numerals and English EquivalentsBasic Math Symbols ListList of Colors


PromovaDec 12th, 2023
Certainly! Shapes like triangle and square are often used metaphorically in everyday language. A 'triangle' might refer to a situation involving three people or entities. 'Square' is frequently used to imply something with equal length and width, like a chessboard or a picture frame. These shapes become useful tools for metaphorical expression in various conversations.
Max MurphyDec 12th, 2023
🤩 Can you explain how specific shapes are commonly used in everyday language or contexts?