\ ˈlenz How to pronounce lens (audio) \

Definition of lens

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a piece of transparent material (such as glass) that has two opposite regular surfaces either both curved or one curved and the other plane and that is used either singly or combined in an optical instrument for forming an image by focusing rays of light
b : a combination of two or more simple lenses
c : a piece of glass or plastic used (as in safety goggles or sunglasses) to protect the eye
2 : a device for directing or focusing radiation other than light (such as sound waves, radio microwaves, or electrons)
3 : something shaped like a biconvex optical lens lens of sandstone
4 : a highly transparent biconvex lens-shaped or nearly spherical body in the eye that focuses light rays (as upon the retina) — see eye illustration
5 : something that facilitates and influences perception, comprehension, or evaluation viewing the current legal battle … through partisan lensesNew Republic


lensed; lensing; lenses

Definition of lens (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make a motion picture of : film


geographical name
\ ˈläⁿs How to pronounce Lens (audio) \

Definition of Lens (Entry 3 of 3)

commune in northern France southwest of Lille population 35,032

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Other Words from lens


lensed \ ˈlenzd How to pronounce Lens (audio) \ adjective
lensless \ ˈlenz-​ləs How to pronounce Lens (audio) \ adjective

Examples of lens in a Sentence

Noun Make sure the lens of the microscope is clean.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gloria said in a news release that Kaka, an immigrant and woman of color, will address homelessness through an equity lens and with a collaborative perspective. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 July 2021 Resident Sarah Gettel suggested the funding allocation process be done with an equity lens. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 July 2021 Black Twitter is a multiverse, simultaneously an archive and an all-seeing lens into the future. Jason Parham, Wired, 15 July 2021 But none of that apparently matters in most mainstream analysis, which only sees issues—even tragic matters, like a skyrocketing homicide rate among profoundly disadvantaged neighborhoods—through an electoral lens. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 24 June 2021 Having this experience together allows for an entirely different lens to see the world and that's a great element of us as co-hosts of the podcast. Morgan Simon, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, CEOs must be willing to lead differently inside their corporations and embed an anti-racist lens into every facet of the business. Tawanna Black, Quartz, 28 May 2021 This, too, was interpreted through an interpersonal lens. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021 Biden spent a lot of his Senate career working on foreign policy matters and sometimes talks about domestic policy through an international or grand strategic lens. Arkansas Online, 23 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s the telephoto lens equipping devices with periscope cameras. Chris Smith, BGR, 30 June 2021 Globe photojournalist Stan Grossfeld took his long telephoto lens to the park during a recent series. BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2021 The distortion is caused by the camera lens the photographer used, not a secret conspiracy to digitally stage the photo. Stephen J. Beard, USA TODAY, 7 May 2021 Investments in social-emotional support and mental health must be grounded in a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens that explicitly takes into account the needs of Black and Brown students. Talia Milgrom-elcott, Forbes, 7 May 2021 But the process and the product need to have a values lens to it. Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, 11 Apr. 2021 The OnePlus 9 Pro adds an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 3.3x optical zoom, 30x digital zoom, and OIS. Zach Epstein, BGR, 23 Mar. 2021 OnePlus, which offers up phones, headphones and accessories, partnered with digital camera and lens brand Hasselblad to develop new smartphone cameras for future OnePlus devices over the next three years. Zoe Malin, NBC News, 8 Mar. 2021 The telephoto lens now reaches even longer to give a true 2.5x optical zoom. Popular Science, 10 Nov. 2020

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

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First Known Use of lens


1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lens


New Latin lent-, lens, from Latin, lentil; from its shape

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Dictionary Entries Near lens

Le Nôtre



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Statistics for lens

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lens.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lens. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for lens



English Language Learners Definition of lens

: a clear curved piece of glass or plastic that is used in eyeglasses, cameras, telescopes, etc., to make things look clearer, smaller, or bigger
: the clear part of the eye that focuses light to form clear images


\ ˈlenz How to pronounce lens (audio) \

Kids Definition of lens

1 : a clear curved piece of material (as glass) used to bend the rays of light to form an image
2 : a clear part of the eye behind the pupil and iris that focuses rays of light on the retina to form clear images


variants: also lense \ ˈlenz How to pronounce lens (audio) \

Medical Definition of lens

1 : a curved piece of glass or plastic used singly or combined in eyeglasses or an optical instrument (as a microscope) for forming an image by focusing rays of light
2 : a device for directing or focusing radiation other than light (as sound waves, radio microwaves, or electrons)
3 : a highly transparent biconvex lens-shaped or nearly spherical body in the eye that focuses light rays entering the eye typically onto the retina, lies immediately behind the pupil, is made up of slender curved rod-shaped ectodermal cells in concentric lamellae surrounded by a tenuous mesoblastic capsule, and alters its focal length by becoming more or less spherical in response to the action of the ciliary muscle on a peripheral suspensory ligament

Other Words from lens

lensed adjective
lensless adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on lens

Nglish: Translation of lens for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lens for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lens


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