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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.

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.