tele·​pho·​to | \ ˌte-lə-ˈfō-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce telephoto (audio) \

Definition of telephoto

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: being a camera lens system designed to give a large image of a distant object also : relating to or being photography in which a telephoto lens is used


plural telephotos

Definition of telephoto (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a telephoto lens
2 : a photograph taken with a camera having a telephoto lens



Definition of Telephoto (Entry 3 of 3)

used for an apparatus for transmitting photographs electrically or for a photograph so transmitted

Examples of telephoto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With a trio of lenses, giving users a broad range of options (from ultrawide to telephoto), the Pro Max bests the competition on image quality, including in low-light and night mode. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Gift Guide: From Smartphones to Cameras to Robots, This Is the Best Tech to Gift in 2019," 16 Nov. 2019 And details are emphasized better than ever, thanks to the telephoto. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The Pixel 4 and 4 XL sit among the stars of Android phones," 21 Oct. 2019 What the iPhone 11 lacks is the brighter, sharper, HDR screen and the telephoto (2x zoom) camera of the Pro models. Wired, "How to Pick the Right iPhone 11 and Where to Preorder It," 12 Sep. 2019 Nowadays a telephoto lens and stroboscopic light source would accomplish much the same thing. William Meyers, WSJ, "‘Eliot Porter’s Birds’ Review: Vibrant Plumage, Vivid Hues," 22 Jan. 2020 Scott, solidly built, in a gray suit and purple tie, holding a camera with a telephoto lens. Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, "For one non-binary teen, coming of age means getting their parents to embrace a new name," 20 Dec. 2019 The Korean phonemaker will add a 108 megapixel camera and 5X telephoto lens to its Galaxy S11 smartphone next year, Bloomberg reports. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "“We Committed Copyright Infringement and Want to Be Sued By Disney”," 6 Dec. 2019 The setup can use an optional Opteka 650-1300mm telephoto lens ($199.95) to focus the laser for long-range attacks. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Researchers hack Siri, Alexa, and Google Home by shining lasers at them," 4 Nov. 2019 New to the Pixel 4 is a second rear camera, specifically a 2x telephoto lens. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Pixel 4 review: Google's latest smartphone is very good but not great," 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'telephoto.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of telephoto


1893, in the meaning defined above


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about telephoto

Time Traveler for telephoto

Time Traveler

The first known use of telephoto was in 1893

See more words from the same year

Statistics for telephoto

Cite this Entry

“Telephoto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Comments on telephoto

What made you want to look up telephoto? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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