• synonyms

camera obscura

[ob-skyoo r-uh]
  1. a darkened boxlike device in which images of external objects, received through an aperture, as with a convex lens, are exhibited in their natural colors on a surface arranged to receive them: used for sketching, exhibition purposes, etc.
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Origin of camera obscura

1660–70; < New Latin: dark chamber; see camera1, obscure
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for camera obscura

Historical Examples

  • And yet, and yet; what if the darkness that envelops Him be the darkness of the camera-obscura?

    Faces in the Fire

    Frank W. Boreham

  • When I was a boy I was very fond of a contrivance that was called a camera-obscura.

    Faces in the Fire

    Frank W. Boreham

  • What an enormous 'camera-obscura' magnifier196 is Tradition!

  • It was like looking into a camera-obscura—you saw faces shining and speaking.

    Old and New London

    Walter Thornbury

  • Pictures in the camera-obscura could be, not only seen, but caught and retained.

British Dictionary definitions for camera obscura

camera obscura

  1. a darkened chamber or small building in which images of outside objects are projected onto a flat surface by a convex lens in an apertureSometimes shortened to: camera
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Word Origin

New Latin: dark chamber
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 camera obscura


1725, "a darkened room;" c.1730, "a device for project pictures;" see camera.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper