Shape is not something that human languages are well equipped to deal with. We have few adjectives that describe shape, even in an approximate way (e.g., rough vs. smooth, or fat vs. skinny). In most conversational discussion of shapes, it is common to use a prototypical object instead. If someone says “shaped like an elephant” it is with the expectation that you share the same mental image. But not everyone will always agree about the important aspects of shape found in the prototype. As shown in Figure 11.1, a defining characteristic of “elephantness” seems to be the trunk. When the name is applied to another species, like a shrew or a seal, it is because of the size of the nose. But there are many more features that humans call to mind in response to the word “elephant,” such as size, tusks, and perhaps ears (as in Disney’s “Dumbo”). So while the phrase “like an elephant” may facilitate communication in some cases, it may hamper it in others.