op·​tic | \ ˈäp-tik How to pronounce optic (audio) \

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

Antonyms: Adjective

  • nonvisual
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Examples of optic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Center the fiber-optic front barrel bead (or crosshair or dot of an optic) just above the major caruncles, those fleshy, gaudy, beautiful red bubbles on the base of a gobbler’s neck. Michael Hanback, Outdoor Life, "25 Top Spring Turkey Hunting Tips," 20 Apr. 2020 The project will improve ADA accessibility, reconstruct traffic signals and install fiber-optic connections. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Road construction based on Clean Air Act occurring throughout northwest Houston," 13 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, a clip also surfaced on Twitter showing a woman harassing telecoms engineers laying 5G fiber-optic cables. NBC News, "5G cell towers torched in U.K. amid bogus coronavirus theories," 6 Apr. 2020 It can be discreetly guided all the way from the submarine via a fiber-optic wire (allowing for communication between the weapon and sub), many miles of which are unwound from inside the torpedo while the rest is unwound from the submarine. Christina Mackenzie, Popular Science, "This new 1.2-ton torpedo can hit a target 31 miles away," 20 Mar. 2020 Optimized for turkey hunters, the .410s have extended removeable extra-full chokes and TruGlo dual-color fiber-optic sights fore and aft. Colin Moore, Outdoor Life, "15 Best Pieces of New Turkey Gear for 2020," 16 Mar. 2020 In 2017, a company called Made in Space built fiber-optic filaments in the microgravity environment of the ISS using a material better than that typically used on Earth—but that is difficult to work with under the influence of gravity. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "What ISS Taught Us In the Past 20 Years," 20 Nov. 2018 One major advantage to DAS is that fiber-optic cables can be many kilometers long, and a single one can act like a network of thousands of sensors covering every meter along its path. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Kilometers of “Dark Cable” Form the Newest Seismic Sensors," 20 Feb. 2020 Germany and Britain are America’s closest intelligence-sharing partners, and both nations sit atop critical points along fiber-optic cables that are key to intercepting communications from Russia to the Middle East. David Mccabe, New York Times, "Huawei Is Winning the Argument in Europe, as the U.S. Fumbles to Develop Alternatives," 17 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In one of the closest matches, silo claimed a narrow victory over optics. Kate Cray, The Atlantic, "Something We Can All Agree On? Corporate Buzzwords Are the Worst.," 5 May 2020 Most of the webcams produced overly compressed imagery typical of their tiny sensors and optics. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Dell XPS 13 9300 review: The bezel is finally dead," 27 Apr. 2020 Miller also addressed the optics on who is steering the Walt Disney Co. ship right now. Ryan Parker, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why Disney World May Face Tougher Recovery Than Disneyland," 24 Apr. 2020 On Monday, Amazon fired one worker who organized a walkout—a situation whose negative optics were compounded when unsavory remarks about the worker made by one executive came to light, per a memo leaked to Vice. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "From more jobs to Prime perks, Amazon’s list of coronavirus efforts is long—and growing," 3 Apr. 2020 Use a flat-shooting cartridge and good optics for these cross-river shots. Gerald Almy, Field & Stream, "Spring Bear Hunting Forecast for the U.S. and Canada," 2 Apr. 2020 Driven by political optics, public perception and international pressure, these measures are important but coloured with class bias. Anup Agarwal & Yogesh Jain, Quartz India, "India’s coronavirus response needs to address the question of social inequity," 29 Mar. 2020 Other researchers, meanwhile, set up traps, cameras, and night-vision optics to look for cats and mice, which were introduced by whalers or sealers long ago and are known to eat seabird eggs and chicks. Eli Kintisch, Science | AAAS, "Why did nearly a million king penguins vanish without a trace?," 19 Mar. 2020 But the optics should place the candidate at a spiritual distance from the capital: in a boyhood home in Kansas (Dwight Eisenhower), in a snowstorm in Minnesota (Amy Klobuchar), or in one’s own tower in New York City (Donald Trump). Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "An Outside Chance," 12 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for optic

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for optic

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Optic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optic. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for optic


How to pronounce optic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of optic

technical : of or relating to the eyes


op·​tic | \ ˈäp-tik How to pronounce optic (audio) \

Kids Definition of optic

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


op·​tic | \ ˈäp-tik How to pronounce optic (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for optic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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