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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?

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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.)

EDIT!

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.

  • 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

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