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camera obscura

[ob-skyoo r-uh] /ɒbˈskyʊər ə/
noun
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.
Origin
1660-1670
1660-70; < Neo-Latin: dark chamber; see camera, obscure
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for camera-obscura

camera obscura

/ɒbˈskjʊərə/
noun
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 aperture Sometimes shortened to camera
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
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Word Origin and History for camera-obscura

camera obscura

n.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for camera-obscura

camera obscura

ancestor of the photographic camera. The Latin name means "dark chamber," and the earliest versions, dating to antiquity, consisted of small darkened rooms with light admitted through a single tiny hole. The result was that an inverted image of the outside scene was cast on the opposite wall, which was usually whitened. For centuries the technique was used for viewing eclipses of the Sun without endangering the eyes and, by the 16th century, as an aid to drawing; the subject was posed outside and the image reflected on a piece of drawing paper for the artist to trace. Portable versions were built, followed by smaller and even pocket models; the interior of the box was painted black and the image reflected by an angled mirror so that it could be viewed right side up. The introduction of a light-sensitive plate by J.-N. Niepce created photography.

Learn more about camera obscura with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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10
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