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Asymmetric vs. Asymmetrical: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Asymmetric and asymmetrical are interchangeable, both meaning not symmetrical or lacking symmetry in form, shape, or arrangement.
Asymmetric vs. Asymmetrical

Key Differences

Asymmetric and asymmetrical are both adjectives used to describe something that lacks symmetry, though 'asymmetric' is often used in more technical or scientific contexts.
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In design and art, asymmetrical is frequently used to describe objects or compositions that are not mirror images on either side, while asymmetric is common in mathematics and physics to describe unequal or uneven distributions.
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Asymmetric may be used in biology and chemistry to refer to molecules or organisms with non-symmetrical features, whereas asymmetrical is often employed in fashion and architecture to describe designs that intentionally avoid symmetry.
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The choice between asymmetric and asymmetrical can depend on stylistic preference or context; 'asymmetric' is sometimes preferred for its brevity, while 'asymmetrical' may be chosen for emphasis or clarity.
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Comparison Chart

Usage Context

More technical, scientific contexts
Art, design, fashion, architecture
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Common in Disciplines

Mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry
Design, art, fashion, architecture
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Style and Preference

Preferred for brevity in technical writing
Used for emphasis in creative fields
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Meaning

Not symmetrical, uneven, unbalanced
Lacking symmetry, not mirror-like
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Example Use

Asymmetric encryption in cybersecurity
Asymmetrical dress in fashion design
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Asymmetric and Asymmetrical Definitions

Asymmetric

Unequal in size or shape.
The asymmetric division of cells is critical in development.
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Asymmetrical

Characterized by the absence of symmetry in design.
The painting’s asymmetrical composition was striking.
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Asymmetric

Not identical on both sides of a central line; uneven.
The asymmetric pattern of the leaf caught my attention.
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Asymmetrical

Uneven or unbalanced in appearance or shape.
The room had an asymmetrical layout, adding to its charm.
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Asymmetric

Lacking symmetry in arrangement or form.
Asymmetric warfare involves uneven forces.
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Asymmetrical

Not symmetrical; lacking balanced proportions.
She wore an asymmetrical skirt that was shorter on one side.
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Asymmetric

Imbalanced or not mirror-like in design.
Modern architects often favor asymmetric designs.
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Asymmetrical

Not mirror-like or evenly divided in form.
Asymmetrical hairstyles are popular for their edgy look.
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Asymmetric

Having no balance or symmetry
An asymmetric design.
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Asymmetrical

Having no balance or symmetry
An asymmetric design.
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Asymmetric

Uneven in distribution.
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Asymmetrical

Uneven in distribution.
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Asymmetric

Existing or occurring between two incommensurate entities, especially to the detriment of one.
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Asymmetrical

Existing or occurring between two incommensurate entities, especially to the detriment of one.
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Asymmetric

Characterized by an imbalance in power between two opponents in an armed conflict, especially one in which a weaker force uses unconventional means, such as guerilla or terrorist tactics
Asymmetric warfare.
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Asymmetrical

Characterized by an imbalance in power between two opponents in an armed conflict, especially one in which a weaker force uses unconventional means, such as guerilla or terrorist tactics
Asymmetric warfare.
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Asymmetric

(Chemistry) Of or relating to a carbon atom having four different atoms or structural groups attached to it, resulting in an unbalanced spatial arrangement of atoms in a molecule, so that the molecule cannot be superimposed on its mirror image; chiral.
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Asymmetrical

(Chemistry) Of or relating to a carbon atom having four different atoms or structural groups attached to it, resulting in an unbalanced spatial arrangement of atoms in a molecule, so that the molecule cannot be superimposed on its mirror image; chiral.
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Asymmetric

Not symmetric.
An asymmetric shape
Asymmetric gameplay, where different players have different experiences
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Asymmetrical

Not symmetrical.
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Asymmetric

(cryptography) Not involving a mutual exchange of keys between the sender and receiver.
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Asymmetrical

(of a question) Presenting a false dilemma, or a choice between two things which are not opposites.
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Asymmetric

(set theory) Of a relation R on a set S: having the property that for any two elements of S (not necessarily distinct), at least one is not related to the other via R.
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Asymmetrical

Characterized by asymmetry in the spatial arrangement or placement of parts or components
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Asymmetric

Incommensurable.
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Asymmetrical

Irregular in shape or outline;
Asymmetrical features
A dress with an crooked hemline
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Asymmetric

Not symmetrical; wanting proportion; esp., not bilaterally symmetrical.
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Asymmetrical

Irregular in shape, pattern, or arrangement.
The asymmetrical pattern of the fabric made it unique.
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Asymmetric

Characterized by asymmetry in the spatial arrangement or placement of parts or components
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Asymmetric

Disproportionate in distribution or arrangement.
The vase featured an asymmetric arrangement of flowers.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does asymmetric mean?

Asymmetric refers to something that is not symmetrical, uneven, or unbalanced.
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In which context is asymmetric more commonly used?

Asymmetric is more commonly used in technical or scientific contexts.
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What types of designs are described as asymmetrical?

Asymmetrical designs are found in art, fashion, and architecture, often for a unique or unconventional look.
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Are asymmetric and asymmetrical interchangeable?

Yes, they are largely interchangeable but may be chosen based on context or stylistic preference.
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How does asymmetrical apply to fashion?

In fashion, asymmetrical refers to garments with uneven hemlines or non-mirror-like designs.
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Is asymmetric used in biology?

Yes, asymmetric is used in biology to describe organisms or processes that lack symmetry.
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How is asymmetrical defined?

Asymmetrical describes a lack of symmetry, balance, or uniformity in design or form.
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Is asymmetrical commonly used in art?

Yes, asymmetrical is often used in art to describe compositions that avoid balanced or mirror-like arrangements.
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How is asymmetric used in cybersecurity?

In cybersecurity, asymmetric refers to encryption methods where keys are not identical or symmetrical.
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Do asymmetric and asymmetrical have different origins?

Both words have similar origins, derived from the Greek 'symmetria' meaning 'measured together,' with the prefix 'a-' denoting 'not.'
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Can a building be asymmetric?

Yes, buildings can have asymmetric designs, especially in modern architecture.
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Do asymmetric and asymmetrical have the same meaning in mathematics?

In mathematics, both terms are used to describe shapes or equations that lack symmetry.
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How do asymmetric and asymmetrical relate to aesthetics?

Both terms relate to aesthetics in the sense of creating visual appeal through unbalanced or unconventional forms.
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Does asymmetrical have a different implication in design?

In design, asymmetrical often implies a deliberate choice to create visual interest or uniqueness.
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Can a hairstyle be described as asymmetric?

Yes, hairstyles can be asymmetric, with uneven lengths or styles on different sides.
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How do asymmetric and asymmetrical apply to photography?

In photography, these terms describe compositions that lack balanced elements, often for dramatic effect.
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Can an object be both symmetric and asymmetric?

An object cannot be both; it is either symmetric (balanced) or asymmetric (unbalanced).
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Can nature be asymmetric?

Yes, many natural forms, like leaves or landscapes, can be asymmetric.
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How are asymmetric and asymmetrical used in geometry?

In geometry, these terms describe shapes or figures that do not have symmetrical properties.
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Is it common for logos to be asymmetrical?

Many logos are asymmetrical to create a distinctive and memorable appearance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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