fo·​vea | \ˈfō-vē-ə \
plural foveae\ ˈfō-​vē-​ˌē , -​vē-​ˌī \

Definition of fovea 

1 : a small fossa

2 : a small depression in the center of the macula (see macula sense 2b) that contains only cones and constitutes the area of maximum visual acuity and color discrimination — see eye illustration

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fovea

foveal \ ˈfō-​vē-​əl \ adjective
foveate \ ˈfō-​vē-​ˌāt , -​ət \ adjective

Examples of fovea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Those piercing eyes are much like yours, equipped with 3-D vision and a fovea — a centralized concentration of light receptors — the better to focus and track. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Birds Beware: The Praying Mantis Wants Your Brain," 22 Sep. 2017 The damage occurs in the fovea, a spot in the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision. Rachael Rettner, Scientific American, "Science Says Why We Can't Look at the Sun," 7 July 2017 The ultraviolet light from the sun gets focused from the eye's lens to the center of the retina, called the fovea, Lujan said. Jessica Greif,, "Can looking at August's total solar eclipse make you go blind? (video)," 18 May 2017 Located on the opposite side of the lens, the macula includes the region of sharpest vision, the fovea. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Dry macular degeneration stopped with low glycemic index diet in mouse study," 15 May 2017 Larger numbers of photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells in the fovea — the center part of our eyes — help produce extremely high-res, three-dimensional static images. Brian_mossop, WIRED, "A Curveball’s Curve? It’s All in Your Head," 19 Oct. 2010

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

See More

First Known Use of fovea

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fovea

New Latin, from Latin, pit

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fovea

Statistics for fovea

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fovea

The first known use of fovea was in 1849

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fovea


fo·​vea | \ˈfō-vē-ə \
plural foveae\ -​vē-​ˌē , -​vē-​ˌī \

Medical Definition of fovea 

1 : a small fossa

2 or fovea centralis

\ -​sen-​ˈtral-​əs, -​ˈträl-​, -​ˈtrāl-​ \ : a small depression in the center of the macula that contains only cones and constitutes the area of maximum visual acuity

Other Words from fovea

foveal \ -​vē-​əl \ adjective
foveate \ -​vē-​ˌāt , -​ət \ adjective

Comments on fovea

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


to express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!