[op-ti-kuh l]



opticals. optical effects.

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.

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.
Also called opticals.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for optical

visual, seeing, visible

Examples from the Web for optical

Contemporary Examples of optical

  • Well, I had seen his first film, “Optical Illusions”, so I knew he was talented and had an original approach.

  • Within a few years of this painting, Vuillard gave up on most of the goals of optical realism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Mirror Sometimes Lies

    Blake Gopnik

    July 6, 2012

  • This drawing may seem pared-down, but its presence as an object is palpable – it is much more than an optical treat.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Maximal Minimalist

    Blake Gopnik

    March 29, 2012

  • Strauss-Kahn's sudden, astounding, and very definitive-seeming fall might make an optical illusion of his comeback rise.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Can DSK Still Be French President?

    Tracy McNicoll

    July 1, 2011

  • All lenses project circles; most cameras cut a square or rectangular image out of the middle of the optical pie.

    The Daily Beast logo
    New Orleans' Hidden Violence

    Blake Gopnik

    January 28, 2011

Historical Examples of optical

  • "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



of, relating to, producing, or involving light
of or relating to the eye or to the sense of sight; optic
(esp of a lens) aiding vision or correcting a visual disorder
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

optical in Science



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