panopticon

noun
pan·​op·​ti·​con | \ pə-ˈnäp-ti-ˌkän How to pronounce panopticon (audio) , pa- \
plural panopticons

Definition of panopticon

1 : an optical instrument combining the telescope and microscope
2 : a circular prison built with cells arranged radially so that a guard at a central position can see all the prisoners

First Known Use of panopticon

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About panopticon

Time Traveler for panopticon

Time Traveler

The first known use of panopticon was in 1742

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near panopticon

panoptic

panopticon

panoram

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for panopticon

Cite this Entry

“Panopticon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/panopticon. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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