combining form

: eye

Word History


borrowed from Greek, combining form from ophthalmós "eye," of uncertain origin

Note: The word ophthalmós (in dialects also óktallos, óptil(l)os) has traditionally been placed with other progeny of Indo-European *h3ekw- in Greek, as ópōpa "(I) saw," ópsomai "(I) will see," ómma "eye," etc. (see eye entry 1), though both the phonetic shape and derivational structure are problematic; appeals have thus been made to "une aspiration expressive" to account for -phth-, or to taboo deformation (presumably as a means of averting the evil eye). R. Beekes (Etymological Dictionary of Greek) derives the range of forms from a pre-Greek *okw-taly-(m)-, and regards the similarity of *okw- and outcomes of Indo-European *h3ekw- as coincidental.

Dictionary Entries Near ophthalmo-

Cite this Entry

“Ophthalmo-.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ophthalmo-. Accessed 23 May. 2024.

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