pupil

1 of 2

noun (1)

pu·​pil ˈpyü-pəl How to pronounce pupil (audio)
1
: a child or young person in school or in the charge of a tutor or instructor : student
2
: one who has been taught or influenced by a famous or distinguished person

pupil

2 of 2

noun (2)

: the contractile aperture in the iris of the eye
pupillary adjective

Examples of pupil in a Sentence

Noun (1) generally there are 20 pupils in each class to pupils of the philosopher Henry David Thoreau, the shores of Walden Pond are hallowed ground
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The pupils of the eyes can appear to be off-center. Troy Bedinghaus, Od, Verywell Health, 1 June 2024 Even the big producer, Joe Josephson, who can come off as a Hollywood hack with dollar signs for pupils, is brought a sense of hangdog appeal by Reg Rogers. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 16 June 2024 According to a recent study, the program boosted high school completion rates by 14 percentage points for girls and 14.9 percentage points for all pupils. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 June 2024 What if standout pupils lose the chance to challenge themselves? Troy Closson, New York Times, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for pupil 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pupil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English pupille minor ward, from Anglo-French, from Latin pupillus male ward (from diminutive of pupus boy) & pupilla female ward, from diminutive of pupa girl, doll

Noun (2)

Middle French pupille, from Latin pupilla, from diminutive of pupa doll; from the tiny image of oneself seen reflected in another's eye

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1536, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pupil was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near pupil

Cite this Entry

“Pupil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pupil. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

pupil

1 of 2 noun
pu·​pil ˈpyü-pəl How to pronounce pupil (audio)
1
: a child or young person in school or in the care of a tutor or teacher
2
: one who has been taught or influenced by a person of fame : disciple

pupil

2 of 2 noun
: the usually round opening in the iris that contracts and expands to control the amount of light entering the eye
Etymology

Noun

Middle English pupille "a child under the care of a guardian," from early French pupille (same meaning), from Latin pupillus "a boy under the care of a guardian" and pupilla "a girl under the care of a guardian"; pupillus derived from pupus "boy"; pupilla derived from pupa "girl, doll" — related to pupil entry 2

Noun

derived from Latin pupilla "pupil of the eye, girl under the care of a guardian," literally, "little doll," derived from pupa "doll, girl"; so called because the tiny image of oneself seen in another's eye is like a tiny doll

Word Origin
If you look into another person's eye, you can see a small reflection of yourself. That small image made the ancient Romans think of a doll. Thus, they called the part of the eye in which it appears the pupilla. This word literally meant "little doll." The English word for that part of the eye, pupil, can be traced to the Latin pupilla. Pupilla also had another meaning. A little girl who was an orphan and was in the care of a guardian was called a pupilla. A little boy in the same situation was called a pupillus. From these two Latin words we get the other English pupil, meaning "a young student in the care of a tutor or in school."

Medical Definition

pupil

noun
pu·​pil ˈpyü-pəl How to pronounce pupil (audio)
: the contractile usually round aperture in the iris of the eye

More from Merriam-Webster on pupil

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