noun, often attributive
tele·​scope | \ ˈte-lə-ˌskōp How to pronounce telescope (audio) \

Definition of telescope

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually tubular optical instrument for viewing distant objects by means of the refraction of light rays through a lens or the reflection of light rays by a concave mirror — compare reflector, refractor
2 : any of various tubular magnifying optical instruments


telescoped; telescoping

Definition of telescope (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to become forced together lengthwise with one part entering another as the result of collision
2 : to slide or pass one within another like the cylindrical sections of a collapsible hand telescope
3 : to become compressed or condensed

transitive verb

1 : to cause to telescope

Examples of telescope in a Sentence

Noun The rings of Saturn can be seen through a telescope. Verb for dramatic purposes, the film telescopes the years over which the events occurred into a few short months
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ultimately, this new space telescope is a step forward in our fight to learn more about the universe. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 10 May 2022 The powerful telescope is sensitive to faint radio light. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 15 Apr. 2022 The $10 billion telescope is currently 1 million miles away from Earth. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 30 Mar. 2022 Teasing out the imprint of the cosmic web requires precise telescope modeling and careful analysis. Ben Brubaker, Scientific American, 4 May 2022 Bross said that once the telescope system exists, however, it could be used for other archaeological expeditions. NBC News, 4 May 2022 According to Reddit comments, Ayoub uses an Explore Scientific AR102 telescope equipped with a ZWO ASI174MM mono camera. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 2 May 2022 The telescope's three imaging instruments include NIRCam, NIRRISS and MIRI. Julia Musto, Fox News, 29 Apr. 2022 Join their astronomers on the deck for real-time telescope camera feeds and a laser tour of the night sky. Anna Mazurek, Chron, 29 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The entire space is designed for comfort with reclining seats, food and beverage capabilities, LED lighting to enhance the views of earth and blackness of space, and telescope and interactive screens to keep passengers up to date on flight progress. Valerie Stimac, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 The 20th Dark Sky Reserve—central Idaho is the only other U.S. region carrying the designation—should put a dent in those numbers, so grab your camera, telescope, or binoculars, and map out your next stargazing adventure. J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, 7 Apr. 2022 But the real design fun comes with the tree house's spiral slide, climbing rope, bucket pulley, net swing, secret ladder, trapdoor, telescope, and even a custom drink shoot for bottles and cans from the kitchen to the lower porch. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 22 Mar. 2022 Astronomers’ telescope observations and computer simulations revealed the real culprit: a roving dust cloud that temporarily crossed in front of the star. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 31 Dec. 2021 The space agency, along with its counterparts in Europe and Canada, will launch the James Webb space telescope 25 years after it was first announced. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 23 Dec. 2021 Europa is considered one of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, first spotted by Galileo Galilei with his pre-NASA telescope four centuries ago. Ramin Skibba, Wired, 6 Oct. 2021 The image released Wednesday was captured by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, a camera and telescope aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Deep Space Climate Observatory Satellite (DSCOVR). Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, 22 July 2021 Imagine an eight-legged robot that can not only telescope its limbs, but choose when to use each of them. Matt Simon, Wired, 15 Mar. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of telescope


1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1866, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for telescope


New Latin telescopium, from Greek tēleskopos farseeing, from tēle- tele- + skopos watcher; akin to Greek skopein to look — more at spy

Buying Guide

Study celestial bodies with the best telescopes for beginners from our Reviews team.

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Time Traveler for telescope

Time Traveler

The first known use of telescope was in 1650

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Dictionary Entries Near telescope



telescope box

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Statistics for telescope

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Telescope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for telescope


tele·​scope | \ ˈte-lə-ˌskōp How to pronounce telescope (audio) \

Kids Definition of telescope

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of equipment shaped like a long tube that has lenses for viewing objects at a distance and especially for observing objects in outer space


telescoped; telescoping

Kids Definition of telescope (Entry 2 of 2)

: to slide or force one part into another

More from Merriam-Webster on telescope

Nglish: Translation of telescope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of telescope for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about telescope


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