optically active

adjective

: capable of rotating the plane of vibration of polarized light to the right or left
used of compounds, molecules, or atoms

Word History

First Known Use

1858, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of optically active was in 1858

Dictionary Entries Near optically active

Cite this Entry

“Optically active.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optically%20active. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition

optically active

adjective
: capable of rotating the plane of vibration of polarized light to the right or left : either dextrorotatory or levorotatory
used of compounds, molecules, or atoms
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY