Definition of collimate
- collimate light rays
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One might expect a science-y word like collimate to have a straightforward etymology, but that's not the case. Collimate comes from Latin collimare, a misreading of the Latin word collineare, meaning "to direct in a straight line." The erroneous collimare appeared in some editions of the works of ancient Roman statesman Cicero and scholar Aulus Gellius. The error was propagated by later writers-most notably by astronomers, such as Johannes Kepler, who wrote in Latin. And so it was the spelling collimate, rather than collineate, that passed into English in the 19th century.
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