• synonyms


[bahy-foh-kuh l, bahy-foh-]
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  1. Chiefly Optics. having two foci.
  2. (of an eyeglass or contact lens) having two portions, one for near and one for far vision.
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  1. bifocals, bifocal eyeglasses or contact lenses.
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Origin of bifocal

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; bi-1 + focal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for bifocal

Historical Examples

  • His most direct contribution to medicine was the invention for his own use of bifocal eyeglasses.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 1 "Franciscans" to "French Language"


  • Any other fish or mammal would have been just as likely as Anableps to begin the development of a bifocal eye.

    Parallel Paths

    Thomas William Rolleston

British Dictionary definitions for bifocal


  1. optics having two different focuses
  2. relating to a compound lens permitting near and distant vision
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bifocal


"having two foci," 1844, from bi- + focal.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bifocal in Medicine


(bī-fōkəl, bīfō′-)
  1. Having two focal lengths.
  2. Having one section that corrects for distant vision and another that corrects for near vision.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.