compound eye


: an eye (as of an insect) made up of many separate visual units

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Biologists now think that a sea urchin’s entire body functions as one big compound eye, where photosensitive tissue inside the exoskeleton picks up light that’s filtered by the radiating spines. Eliza Strickland, Discover Magazine, 8 Feb. 2010 Building on earlier work modeling a camera on the shape of a human eye, Rogers and his team recently unveiled a camera inspired by an insect’s compound eye. Valerie Ross, Discover Magazine, 19 Nov. 2013 Put someone onstage with a mike and an audience and all those eyeballs shine back—a big compound eye, insectile and glittering. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2023 Each eye has hundreds of separate facets, each of which is a single unit of the entire compound eye. Thomas Cronin, University Of Maryland, Discover Magazine, 3 Aug. 2018 Instead, van Dokkum found his galaxies by grouping eight 400-millimeter lenses into a contraption resembling an insect’s compound eye. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, 3 Jan. 2019 Apposition eyes are the most common form of eye, and are likely the ancestral form of the compound eye. Lisa Raffensperger, Discover Magazine, 11 Apr. 2013 Turned skyward and concave in a supportive cobweb of carbon fiber called a backplane, the mirror looks like the giant, unblinking compound eye of an insect. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 30 Jan. 2016 What at first appears to be a single organ, like an insect’s compound eye, turns out, upon Zoom inspection, to be many. New York Times, 6 Dec. 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of compound eye was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near compound eye

Cite this Entry

“Compound eye.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

compound eye

: an eye (as of an insect) made up of many separate visual units

More from Merriam-Webster on compound eye

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