[buh-nok-yuh-ler, bahy-]


Usually binoculars. Also called pair of binoculars, prism binoculars. an optical device, providing good depth effect, for use with both eyes, consisting of two small telescopes fitted together side by side, each telescope having two prisms between the eyepiece and objective for erecting the image.


involving both eyes: binocular vision.

Origin of binocular

First recorded in 1705–15; bin- + ocular
Related formsbin·oc·u·lar·i·ty, nounbin·oc·u·lar·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for binoculars

Contemporary Examples of binoculars

Historical Examples of binoculars

  • The American turned his binoculars obediently and scanned the west and north.

  • As it was too small for his naked eyes, he resorted to the binoculars once more.

  • Next he showed them a pair of binoculars, teaching them how to look through them.

    The Hohokam Dig

    Theodore Pratt

  • In their places, suddenly, there were the thermos and the binoculars.

    The Hohokam Dig

    Theodore Pratt

  • Then he took up the binoculars from the roof of the deckhouse.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for binoculars


pl n

an optical instrument for use with both eyes, consisting of two small telescopes joined togetherAlso called: field glasses



involving, relating to, seeing with or intended for both eyesbinocular vision

Word Origin for binocular

C18: from bi- 1 + Latin oculus eye
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 binoculars

1866; see binocular. Earlier binocle (1690s).



1738, "involving both eyes," earlier "having two eyes" (1713), from French binoculaire, from Latin bini "two by two, twofold, two apiece" (see binary) + ocularis "of the eye," from oculus "eye" (see eye (n.)). The double-tubed telescopic instrument (1871, short for binocular glass) earlier was called a binocle. Related: Binocularity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for binoculars


[bə-nŏkyə-lər, bī-]


Adapted to the use of both eyes. Used of an optical instrument.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for binoculars




Relating to or involving both eyes at once, as in binocular vision.


An optical device, such as a pair of field glasses, consisting of two small telescopes, designed for use by both eyes at once. Often used in the plural as binoculars.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.