• synonyms


[op-ti-kuh l]
See more synonyms for optical on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or applying optics or the principles of optics.
  2. constructed to assist sight or to correct defects in vision.
  3. of or relating to sight or vision; visual.
  4. of or relating to the eye.
  5. of or relating to an optician or opticians or to their products, especially eyeglasses: an optical service.
  6. dealing with or skilled in optics.
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  1. opticals. optical effects.
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Origin of optical

First recorded in 1560–70; optic + -al1
Related formsop·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·op·ti·cal, adjectivenon·op·ti·cal·ly, adverbsub·op·ti·cal, adjectivesub·op·ti·cal·ly, adverb

optical effects

plural noun Movies, Television.
  1. special visual effects, as the wipe or dissolve, created in the camera or especially in a film laboratory by technicians using complex optical and electronic equipment.
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Also called opticals.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for optical

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "Your Lordship is deceived by an optical illusion," said the young captain.

  • She was visited by no more ‘optical illusions’ or ‘cataleptic’ fits.

    Cruel As The Grave

    Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth

  • This causes a kind of optical illusion which is favorable to the flat-footed.

    Social Life

    Maud C. Cooke

  • So we are told that soldiers' visions are optical illusions.

    War and the Weird

    Forbes Phillips

  • And yet we are asked to believe that all this is merely an optical illusion.

    Illogical Geology

    George McCready Price

British Dictionary definitions for optical


  1. of, relating to, producing, or involving light
  2. of or relating to the eye or to the sense of sight; optic
  3. (esp of a lens) aiding vision or correcting a visual disorder
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Derived Formsoptically, adverb
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 optical


1560s, from optic + -al (1). Of abstract art, from 1964. Related: Optically.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

optical in Science


  1. Relating to vision or the eyes.
  2. Relating to optics.
  3. Relating to or using visible light.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.