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

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 As a result, the researchers expect to have, for reasonable optical components, a sensitivity an order of magnitude or two better than current detectors. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Making light twist into a bowtie may reveal dark matter," 12 Nov. 2018 For instance, real-time video feeds from the electro-optical/infrared sensors on board an Air Force Predator, Reaper or Global Hawk drone could go directly into an F-35 cockpit, without needing to go to a ground control station. Fox News, "Air Force brings AI to B-2, F-35 and F-15," 31 July 2018 Magnets pull out metal cans, and an optical scanner detects plastic and directs puffs of air to lift milk jugs and other light containers out of the stream. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Rise of 'wishcycling,' plummeting value of paper and glass raise concerns about 'a new reality of recycling'," 20 June 2018 The Gemini North, located in Maunakea, Hawaii, has an 8.1-meter-diameter optical/infrared telescope used for deep space exploration. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Have Spotted Some of the Oldest Light in the Universe," 10 Jan. 2019 What’s Worse: Camera The XR has the same great wide-angle camera as the XS phones, but lacks the second telephoto lens for true optical zoom. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "iPhone XR Review: You Don’t Have to Spend $1,000 for the Best iPhone," 23 Oct. 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

21 Apr 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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