Nicol prism

[ nik-uh l ]
/ ˈnɪk əl /

noun Optics.

one of a pair of prisms used to produce and analyze plane-polarized light in a polarizing microscope.Also called Nic·ol.Compare polarizer(def 1).

Origin of Nicol prism

1870–75; after William Nicol (1768–1851), British physicist, its inventor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for nicol prism

Nicol prism

/ (ˈnɪkəl) /


a device composed of two prisms of Iceland spar or calcite cut at specified angles and cemented together with Canada balsam. It is used for producing plane-polarized light

Word Origin for Nicol prism

C19: named after William Nicol (?1768–1851), Scottish physicist, its inventor
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