[ par-uh-laks ]
/ ˈpær əˌlæks /
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the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.
Astronomy. the apparent angular displacement of a celestial body due to its being observed from the surface instead of from the center of the earth (diurnal parallax, or geocentric parallax ) or due to its being observed from the earth instead of from the sun (annual parallax or heliocentric parallax ).Compare parallactic ellipse.
the difference between the view of an object as seen through the picture-taking lens of a camera and the view as seen through a separate viewfinder.
an apparent change in the position of cross hairs as viewed through a telescope, when the focusing is imperfect.
Digital Technology. a 3D effect observed when images and other elements in the foreground of a screen move at a different rate than those in the background (often used attributively): parallax scrolling;Does this phone have parallax?
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Origin of parallax

First recorded in 1585–95; from Greek parállaxis “alternation, change of position” derivative of parallássein “to cause to alternate,” equivalent to para- + allássein “to change, alter, vary” (derivative of állos “other”) + -sis;see origin at para-1, allo--sis


par·al·lac·tic [par-uh-lak-tik], /ˌpær əˈlæk tɪk/, adjectivepar·al·lac·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use parallax in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for parallax

/ (ˈpærəˌlæks) /

an apparent change in the position of an object resulting from a change in position of the observer
astronomy the angle subtended at a celestial body, esp a star, by the radius of the earth's orbit. Annual or heliocentric parallax is the apparent displacement of a nearby star resulting from its observation from the earth. Diurnal or geocentric parallax results from the observation of a planet, the sun, or the moon from the surface of the earth

Derived forms of parallax

parallactic (ˌpærəˈlæktɪk), adjectiveparallactically, adverb

Word Origin for parallax

C17: via French from New Latin parallaxis, from Greek: change, from parallassein to change, from para- 1 + allassein to alter
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

Scientific definitions for parallax

[ părə-lăks′ ]

A change in the apparent position of an object relative to more distant objects, caused by a change in the observer's line of sight towards the object. The parallax of nearby stars caused by observing them from opposite points in Earth's orbit around the Sun is used in estimating the stars' distance from Earth through triangulation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.