op·​tic | \ˈäp-tik \

Definition of optic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to vision or the eye



Definition of optic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : eye

2a : any of the elements (such as lenses, mirrors, or light guides) of an optical instrument or system usually used in plural

b : an optical instrument

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Synonyms & Antonyms for optic

Synonyms: Adjective

ocular, optical, visual

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of optic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Cuba ran a fiber-optic connection to Venezuela in 2012, allowing the island to shift from slow and costly satellite links. Andrea Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "Cuba to begin full internet access for mobile phones," 5 Dec. 2018 The city also boasts fiber-optic internet connectivity. Beth Decarbo, WSJ, "Our 15-Year Quest to Find the Perfect Place to Retire," 20 Nov. 2018 Facebook, in partnership with local telecoms, has laid nearly 500 miles of fiber-optic cables in the region. Alexandra Wexler, WSJ, "Facebook Pushes Into Africa," 8 Oct. 2018 For Macron, this meant an optic-white Louis Vuitton skirt suit, paired with futuristic metallic silver stilettos for a directional touch. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "In Belgium, Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump Are Style Opposites—But With a Similar Message," 11 July 2018 Dr Ozanyan says that the team have built a demonstration fibre-optic mat, two metres long and a metre wide, using materials that cost £100 ($130). The Economist, "The way people walk can be used for ID and health checks," 12 July 2018 The top was also the ideal complement for Lopez’s optic white fitted trousers. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Of Course Jennifer Lopez’s Casual Friday Style Is Still Extra," 29 June 2018 To boost its cloud-computing business, the firm is also building three new underwater fibre-optic cables to run along ocean floors from the Pacific to the North Sea. The Economist, "More knock-on than networkThe story of the internet is all about layers," 28 June 2018 The company is now building out its fiber-optic network, as are many rural internet service providers (ISPs). Ryan Blethen, The Seattle Times, "Rural telecom companies go beyond offering telephone and broadband," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Oculus Quest uses the same optics as the Oculus Go, including a 1600 x 1440 display for each eye, while adding a Rift-like distance slider for the lenses. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Oculus Quest put us in an ‘arena-scale’ Wild West shootout, and it was great," 27 Sep. 2018 Wanting to change those optics makes sense: Orrin Hatch questioned Hill and is still on the same committee 27 years later. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Christine Blasey Ford's Testimony—Here's Everything You Should Know," 26 Sep. 2018 Travelers to Gatwick Airport today are being forced to get flight information off a whiteboard after a Verizon fibre optic cable failure left information screens across all terminals blank. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Information Screens at Gatwick Airport Are Currently Down," 20 Aug. 2018 World leader summits are largely about optics and presenting a united front to the rest of the world. Jonathan Lemire, BostonGlobe.com, "No shove, but Trump body language speaks to frosty relations," 11 July 2018 The mass production and standardization of photographic lenses was largely pioneered by the German optical-instruments maker Carl Zeiss, whose eponymous company still makes optics today. Allain Daigle, The Atlantic, "How the 50-mm Lens Became ‘Normal’," 13 May 2018 People have to pull out of the conference for optics. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Why Silicon Valley investors just can’t quit Saudi money," 25 Oct. 2018 Bad optics, to say the least, given Johnson’s pro-Nazi history. Mark Lamster, Curbed, "Arbiter of taste, enfant terrible: The best and worst of Philip Johnson," 6 Nov. 2018 The movers and shakers in the joint committee guiding production are focused on issues other than the optics of rising American pump prices before midterm elections. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Why the Lid Is Off of Oil Prices For Now," 24 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'optic.' 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 optic


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for optic


Middle English, from Medieval Latin opticus, from Greek optikos, from opsesthai to be going to see; akin to Greek opsis appearance, ōps eye — more at eye

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Statistics for optic

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optic

The first known use of optic was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for optic



English Language Learners Definition of optic

: of or relating to the eyes


op·​tic | \ˈäp-tik \

Kids Definition of optic

: of or relating to seeing or the eye the optic nerve


op·​tic | \ˈäp-tik \

Medical Definition of optic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to vision optic phenomena

b : dependent chiefly on vision for orientation humans are basically optic animals

2a : of or relating to the eye : ocular

b : affecting the eye or an optic structure



Medical Definition of optic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : any of the elements (as lenses, mirrors, or light guides) of an optical instrument or system usually used in plural

2 : an optical instrument

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More from Merriam-Webster on optic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with optic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for optic

Spanish Central: Translation of optic

Nglish: Translation of optic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of optic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on optic

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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