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 And the external design still looked like a pretty ordinary phone, despite the telephoto upgrade. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 phone has a zoom lens that’s better than any rival’s," 12 Feb. 2020 Courtesy of telephoto photography, building details that are barely visible to the naked eye are brought down from the heights and made available for up-close appreciation. Ellen Piligian, Detroit Free Press, "Poetry, a cookbook and reflections on Detroit history make Michigan Notable Books list," 19 Jan. 2020 There’s a single selfie camera on the front and three on the back: wide, regular, and telephoto. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Samsung Galaxy Note 10 announced: two sizes, new S Pen, and DeX on your laptop," 7 Aug. 2019 The film packs its frames tightly, thanks to cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano’s love of telephoto lensing, adding a natural sense of depth and life. Michael Phillips,, "‘The Farewell’ review: Playing a delicate game of Chinese family charades," 12 July 2019 The kit, which comes in a protective Incase compression molded case and weighs under one pound, features four lens options: a fisheye, super-wide, telephoto 2x, and ultra-wide. Emily Reed, Outside Online, "Turn Your iPhone Into a DSLR with This $200 Lens Kit," 12 June 2018 Foreshortening effect of telephoto lens accounts for the confusion. Scott Harrison,, "From the Archives: Jet appears to cross Sepulveda Blvd," 27 Mar. 2018 Despite its lack of a dedicated telephoto lens, however, Apple has included a portrait mode that adds fake background blur. Popular Science, "Apple just dropped a surprise new iPhone—and it’s cheap," 15 Apr. 2020 By the 1960s, telephoto lens cameras with 16- and 35-millimeter film became the main means in which to study the lock. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The 2,000-Year-Long Search for the Loch Ness Monster," 21 Nov. 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.

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First Known Use of telephoto


1893, in the meaning defined above


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of telephoto was in 1893

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Cite this Entry

“Telephoto.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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