Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

perspective

play
noun per·spec·tive \pər-ˈspek-tiv\

Definition of perspective

archaic

  1. :  an optical glass (as a telescope)



Origin of perspective

Middle English perspectyf, from Medieval Latin perspectivum, from neuter of perspectivus of sight, optical, from Latin perspectus, past participle of perspicere to look through, see clearly, from per- through + specere to look — more at per-, spy


First Known Use: 14th century


2

perspective

play
noun per·spec·tive \pər-ˈspek-tiv\

Definition of perspective

  1. 1 a :  the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically :  representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance b :  a picture in perspective

  2. 2 a :  the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also :  point of view b :  the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>

  3. 3 a :  a visible scene; especially :  one giving a distinctive impression of distance :  vista b :  a mental view or prospect <to gain a broader perspective on the international scene — Current Biography>

  4. 4 :  the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

per·spec·tiv·al play \pər-ˈspek-ti-vəl, ˌpər-(ˌ)spek-ˈtī-vəl\ adjective


Examples of perspective

  1. The elegant economy of the drawing and the wild inventiveness of such pictorial devices as the towering pitcher's mound and the impossible perspective of Snoopy's doghouse keep the repetitiveness, talkiness, and melancholy of the strip a few buoyant inches off the ground, and save it from being fey. —John Updike, New Yorker, 22 Oct. 2007

  2. Courses offer an international perspective, so even a lesson on the American Revolution will interweave sources from Britain and France with views from the Founding Fathers. —Claudia Wallis et al., Time, 18 Dec. 2006

  3. Tipper and I still marvel at everything we saw and the perspective it offered. At a moment when the country was still in the throes of the conflict over Vietnam, it was refreshing to see the best of America. —Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006



Origin of perspective

Middle French, probably modification of Old Italian prospettiva, from prospetto view, prospect, from Latin prospectus — more at prospect


First Known Use: 1563

Other Fine Arts Terms


3

perspective

play
adjective per·spec·tive \pər-ˈspek-tiv\

Definition of perspective

  1. 1 obsolete :  aiding the vision <his eyes should be like unto the wrong end of a perspective glass — Alexander Pope>

  2. 2 :  of, relating to, employing, or seen in perspective <perspective drawing> (see 2perspective)

per·spec·tive·ly adverb


Origin of perspective

Middle English, optical, from Medieval Latin perspectivus


First Known Use: 1570



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up perspective? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 5, 2016

bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet pince-nez kittly-benders spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ