af·​ter·​im·​age | \ ˈaf-tər-ˌi-mij How to pronounce afterimage (audio) \
plural afterimages

Definition of afterimage

1 : a usually visual sensation occurring after stimulation by its external cause has ceased
2 : a lasting memory or mental image of something The problem with the heros of myths is that, although they were once a reality or rooted in one, they rarely matched their lovely afterimage.— Irvin Faust

Examples of afterimage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Is the yellow gown an afterimage of Homer’s Dawn, flinging off her golden robe? Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 7 Feb. 2022 The light the narrator sees at the end is, for all its majesty, only the afterimage of utopia lost. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 The movie would induce the complementary color as an afterimage. Adam Rogers, Wired, 29 Apr. 2021 The light leaves an afterimage like one caused by staring at the sun. Adam Rogers, Wired, 29 Apr. 2021 Some tennis players leave an afterimage in the mind. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 24 Aug. 2019 American culture is full of lingering afterimages of Midwestern guys making cars and mining coal, but, to quote an excellent headline from the Chicago Tribune, The Entire Coal Industry Employs Fewer People Than Arby’s. Emily Guendelsberger, Vox, 15 July 2019 Now the cigarette’s white smoke morphs into one more aspect of the film — the addition of still or moving black-and-white afterimages. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 3 June 2018 But by foregrounding these embarrassments, Ms. Saul creates a kind of afterimage of spiritual serenity. Holland Cotter, Roberta Smith, Will Heinrich And Jason Farago, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'afterimage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of afterimage

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for afterimage

after- + image entry 1

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Time Traveler for afterimage

Time Traveler

The first known use of afterimage was in 1840

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Cite this Entry

“Afterimage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for afterimage


af·​ter·​im·​age | \ -ˌrim-ij How to pronounce afterimage (audio) \

Medical Definition of afterimage

: a usually visual sensation occurring after stimulation by its external cause has ceased

called also aftersensation, aftervision

More from Merriam-Webster on afterimage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for afterimage Encyclopedia article about afterimage


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