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

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 It is linked to other labs around Europe by fibre-optic cables that are used to synchronise the measurements of atomic clocks. The Economist, "Submarine cables could be repurposed as earthquake detectors," 16 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Suggesting a long wait ahead, divers are being trained to install fiber-optic cable from a Navy command station inside the tunnels to allow the boys to talk to their parents. Time, "Grandfather of Trapped Thai Boy Says He’ll ‘Never Let Them Near a Cave Again’," 5 July 2018 It was created in a partnership with Frog, a global design and strategy firm, and includes 130 feet of fiber-optic cable, four windows, six Samsung screens, six computers, six stereo cameras and more. Sophie Haigney, SFChronicle.com, "SFMOMA’s Magritte Interpretive Gallery lets people play with artist’s work," 3 July 2018 Clearly, the Trump administration cared more about optics than about the merits of its campaign to fulfill a campaign promise. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "As politicians duke it out, we must remember that most children just want to go home | Christine Flowers," 12 July 2018 Some members of his caucus probably worry about the optics of eliminating it, which would surely open Democrats to a few days of scolding from Morning Joe and the Sunday talk shows. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Chuck Schumer Is Secretly Sabotaging the Next Democratic President," 28 June 2018 But even if that were true, the optics were horrific. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Wildfang's "I Really Care" Jackets and T-shirts Give The Finger to Melania Trump," 22 June 2018 This is why the August plan may just be about optics. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Republicans may have won the optics war on Congress' summer recess fight," 9 June 2018 The optics of that power imbalance are not insignificant. Hunter Harris, refinery29.com, "Sex And The City," 6 June 2018 But some Democrats are concerned about the optics of having a member accused of a serious crime atop a PAC that will dole out money to members facing re-election in the fall. Manu Raju And Ashley Killough, CNN, "Cardenas may avoid Democratic backlash despite allegations of sexual misconduct," 9 May 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

6 Sep 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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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