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

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 To reach you, these words were encoded into signals of light moving about 125,000 miles per second through fiber-optic cables. Doug Main, The Atlantic, "Humankind’s Most Important Material," 7 Apr. 2018 The front hemline was kept tea-length, and there were more than 190 yards of short pleated optic white tulle and a detachable train that took four months of fittings and travel back and forth from Paris to reach perfection. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "This Bride Wore Chanel Haute Couture to Her Garden Wedding in California," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 If Ford does appear at Monday's hearing, some Republicans have voiced concern at the optics of having the all-male Republican contingent on the Judiciary Committee questioning her. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Feinstein blames GOP after Kavanaugh accuser stays mum, admits 'I can't say everything's truthful'," 18 Sep. 2018 In optics, a caustic network refers to how refracted and reflected light projects onto another surface—think of refracted light on a table moving through a glass of water. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The James Webb Telescope Could Find the Very First Stars," 25 Apr. 2018 There are many reasons why Putin relies on optics and power projection. Anna Arutunyan, Time, "No Matter What Happens in Helsinki, Putin Has Already Won," 10 July 2018 That changed with this summer's crisis, and its bad optics of puke green water, erupting during a heated and critical election year. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Political muscle halts release of Lake O's foul water. The reprieve won't last long," 9 July 2018 Folded up for launch, the five-layer sun shield is required to produce the ultra-low temperatures -- 50 degrees above absolute zero -- that Webb's sensitive optics and instruments require to capture faint infrared emissions. William Harwood, CBS News, "Launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope delayed again as costs rise," 27 June 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

15 Nov 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

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