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[op-ti-kuh l] /ˈɒp tɪ kəl/
of, relating to, or applying optics or the principles of optics.
constructed to assist sight or to correct defects in vision.
of or relating to sight or vision; visual.
of or relating to the eye.
of or relating to an optician or opticians or to their products, especially eyeglasses:
an optical service.
dealing with or skilled in optics.
opticals, optical effects.
Origin of optical
1560-70; optic + -al1
Related forms
optically, adverb
nonoptical, adjective
nonoptically, adverb
suboptical, adjective
suboptically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for optical
  • optical processing is expected to have applications for the military and for industrial robot vision systems.
  • It uses paper ballots which are scanned by an optical reader.
  • Scientists use optical illusions to study how the brain allows itself to be tricked.
  • Yet optical networks are not a completely new development.
  • Making super thin laptops isn't the only thing you can do when you ditch bulky optical drives.
  • Lasers may send information flying in tiny bursts of light through optical fibers across oceans and cities.
  • Many laser printers use an optical sensor to measure toner levels.
  • The nerve bundles, which are presumed to be light-sensitive, transmit the optical information to the rest of the nervous system.
  • In the next step, the possible malfunction accounting for the optical phenomena is noted.
  • Rapid, unconscious eye movements explain a famous optical illusion in which a still image appears to move.
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 Forms
optically, 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
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Word Origin and History for optical

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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optical in Science
  1. Relating to vision or the eyes.

  2. Relating to optics.

  3. Relating to or using visible light.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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