oc·​u·​lus ˈä-kyə-ləs How to pronounce oculus (audio)
plural oculi ˈä-kyə-ˌlī How to pronounce oculus (audio)
: a circular or oval window
: a circular opening at the top of a dome

Examples of oculus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The bedroom transforms from neutral-toned retreat by day to sparkling oculus by night. Amy Chin, ELLE Decor, 17 Aug. 2023 Traditional Roman temples were set on high, like the Temple of the Capitoline Triad, and open to the sky through colonnaded porticos or an oculus, but mithraeums were the opposite: underground, cramped, hidden beneath houses, lit only by flickering torches. David Laskin Martin Pauer, New York Times, 1 May 2023 Best Things to Do in the Algarve Benagil Sea Cave: Accessible by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, this spot resembles nature’s cathedral, with an open-air oculus framing the blue sky. Stacy Suaya, Travel + Leisure, 13 Mar. 2023 An oculus in the ceiling of the space lets direct light come inside. Adam Pourahmadi, CNN, 1 Mar. 2023 At the top is an oculus, a round opening in the roof, like in the Pantheon in Rome. Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2023 On the ground floor, a seating area offers views of the sky through a large oculus in the ceiling, while a series of crisscrossing staircases around the tower’s outer rim spiral up to a flat roof. Ellie Pithers Clément Vayssieres, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2023 The wood pavilion’s cylindrical shape riffs on industrial bottle furnaces found around Stoke-on-Trent and will have an open oculus in its domed roof. Diana Budds, Curbed, 8 Feb. 2022 Its oculus opens to the sky like the eye it was named for, letting in both sunlight and drenching rain. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 7 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oculus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, literally, eye — more at eye

First Known Use

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oculus was in 1848

Dictionary Entries Near oculus

Cite this Entry

“Oculus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oculus. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


oc·​u·​lus ˈäk-yə-ləs How to pronounce oculus (audio)
plural oculi -yə-ˌlī How to pronounce oculus (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on oculus

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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