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.
First Known Use: 1878See Words from the same year
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