The shape of a cap, a igloo, and that sort of things. What's that shape called?

Is there a common way to refer to it?

  • 1
    What do you mean by 'upper part'? You could say the 'upper half' or the 'top' of the circle, the second leaving things quite vague.
    – Merk
    Oct 19 '13 at 8:26
  • @Merk Yeah, sorry, I meant upper half.
    – janoChen
    Oct 19 '13 at 8:30
  • Inverted bowl? (pun intended)
    – Kris
    Oct 19 '13 at 13:40

Dome is the word that comes to my mind


A dome is an element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere.

So although it is also a hemisphere, the dome is the top half of a sphere, which is what janoChen was looking for

  • Absolutely, 'dome' it is. But a dome can be less than half, it usually is.
    – Kris
    Oct 19 '13 at 13:41
  • I would say there are a lot of half sphere domes here: goo.gl/3tOrlJ
    – mplungjan
    Oct 19 '13 at 13:45

Half a circle called a semi-circle (with or without a hyphen).

semicircle noun
a half of a circle or of its circumference.


Half a sphere (like an igloo) is a hemisphere (which I've not generally seen hyphenated).

hemisphere noun
a half of a sphere.


Note that circle is derived from Latin, so takes a Latin prefix for "half", whereas sphere is derived from Greek and takes the Greek prefix.

  • 2
    Not necessarily the upper half, though.
    – Kris
    Oct 19 '13 at 13:38

I think you mean sphere, not circle, in which case "hemi-sphere" is another very/mathematical formal alternative to dome.

Sometimes you need to use 'arch' -- although arches are not sections of spheres but something slightly different...Google images is very useful if more clarification is needed.

Finally a parabola is another variation not having to do with spheres or circles specifically but still in the same family of concepts: curving to a point (in this case, at top or at bottom).

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