Is there any difference in meaning, usage or frequency between the words "conal" and "conical" within a mathematical context, i.e. when talking about cones?

  • 1
    The OED has no entry for "conal". Where did you find it? (Name of the book and some context.) – Greybeard Dec 2 '20 at 11:04

Overall, "conal" is practically unused. For this reason alone, I would stick to "conical."

See Google Ngram for 1800 to 2000 (I couldn't figure out how to embed this.)


As the learned wfaull suggests, in math, we will invariably refer to the circle, ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola as "conic sections" or sometimes just "conics." The words "conal" and "conical" are not used per se in math - conical is used in design, drafting, and physics, amoung other subjects, but I have still never seen "conal." Ever.

  • 1
    Simply "conic" seems to be used in most mathematical cases: "conic sections", for example. There is also the "conical frustrum" though. – wfaulk Dec 10 '14 at 2:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.