optical

adjective
op·​ti·​cal | \ ˈäp-ti-kəl How to pronounce optical (audio) \

Definition of optical

1 : of or relating to the science of optics
2a : of or relating to vision : visual
b : visible sense 1 optical wavelength
c : of, relating to, or being objects that emit light in the visible range of frequencies an optical galaxy
d : using the properties of light to aid vision an optical instrument
3a : of, relating to, or utilizing light especially instead of other forms of energy optical microscopy
b : involving the use of light-sensitive devices to acquire information for a computer optical character recognition
4 : of or relating to optical art

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Other Words from optical

optically \ ˈäp-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce optically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for optical

Synonyms

ocular, optic, visual

Antonyms

nonvisual

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Examples of optical in a Sentence

The company manufactures microscopes, telescopes, and other optical instruments. an optical illusion that fools most people

Recent Examples on the Web

Previously, testing the RemoveDEBRIS system has meant checking out its fundamentals—using a net to simulate a capture, using onboard LIDAR and optical camera systems to identify space junk. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a Space Junk Harpoon Complete a Successful Test Shot," 15 Feb. 2019 Beyond that, the Command Bar comes with a nice variety of connectivity options: an HDMI-ARC port, two HDMI 2.0 inputs, an optical digital audio input, and Bluetooth support. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—good tech for the home and home office," 19 Nov. 2018 The Galaxy Note 9, similar to this year’s Galaxy S9, has impressive dual cameras on the back, a wide-angle and a 2X telephoto, both with optical image stabilization. David Pierce, WSJ, "Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Is Crazy Powerful. Can You Handle It?," 19 Aug. 2018 Note that this particular model only accepts analog RCA and 3.5mm audio connections, however—optical inputs aren’t supported. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "Punch up your PC audio! Logitech's powerful Z623 speaker system is $80, its lowest price ever," 9 Aug. 2018 As in standard optical communications, a photon can be transmitted to a receiver—in this case, another diamond vacancy—and its quantum state transferred to a new electron, so the two electrons become correlated. Neil Savage, Scientific American, "What Are the Limits of Manipulating Nature?," 8 May 2018 As the show’s 80 or so works, video slide shows and film clips demonstrate, rarely has an optical phenomenon threaded its way through so many aspects of modern culture, from mass-market fads to avant-garde art. Susan Delson, WSJ, "In a Los Angeles Exhibition, 3-D in All Its Dimensions," 29 June 2018 Similar to sun dogs, lunar and solar halos belong to the family of ice halos, which are optical phenomena formed by the refraction of sun on hexagonal ice crystals suspended high up in the atmosphere, most commonly in cirrus clouds. Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, "Skywatchers in Chile were star-struck by this incredible lunar halo," 13 Apr. 2018 During the last decade, the space technology program has supported research into optical communications for communicating with deep space probes, environmental propellants, and nuclear thermal propulsion, among many other areas. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "In response to Trump budget, NASA ending separate technology plan," 1 Mar. 2018

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

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for optical

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for optical

The first known use of optical was in 1570

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More Definitions for optical

optical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of optical

technical
: used to help a person see
: relating to or using light
: involving the use of devices that get information for a computer by identifying patterns of light

optical

adjective
op·​ti·​cal | \ ˈäp-ti-kəl How to pronounce optical (audio) \

Kids Definition of optical

1 : relating to the science of optics
2 : relating to seeing : visual
3 : involving the use of devices that are sensitive to light to get information for a computer an optical scanner

optical

adjective
op·​ti·​cal | \ ˈäp-ti-kəl How to pronounce optical (audio) \

Medical Definition of optical

1 : of or relating to the science of optics
2a : of or relating to vision : visual
b : using the properties of light to aid vision an optical instrument
3 : of, relating to, or utilizing light optical microscopy

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Comments on optical

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