(used with a singular verb) the branch of physical science that deals with the properties and phenomena of both visible and invisible light and with vision.
(used with a plural verb) the way a situation, action, event, etc., is perceived by the public or by a particular group of people: The optics on this issue are pretty good for the Democrats. Administrators worry about the bad optics of hiring new staff during a budget crisis.

1605–15; < Medieval Latin optica < Greek optiká, noun use of neuter plural of optikós; see optic, -ics

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of or pertaining to the eye or sight.
the eye.
a lens of an optical instrument.

1535–45; < Medieval Latin opticus < Greek optikós, equivalent to opt(ós) seen (verbid of ópsesthai to see) + -ikos -ic

interoptic, adjective
nonoptic, adjective
postoptic, adjective
preoptic, adjective
suboptic, adjective
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World English Dictionary
optic (ˈɒptɪk)
1.  of or relating to the eye or vision
2.  a less common word for optical
3.  an informal word for eye
[C16: from Medieval Latin opticus, from Greek optikos, from optos visible, seen; related to ōps eye]

Optic (ˈɒptɪk)
(Brit) trademark a device attached to an inverted bottle for dispensing measured quantities of liquid, such as whisky, gin, etc

optics (ˈɒptɪks)
(functioning as singular) the branch of science concerned with vision and the generation, nature, propagation, and behaviour of electromagnetic light

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Word Origin & History

1540s, from M.Fr. optique, obtique (c.1300), from M.L. opticus "of sight or seeing," from Gk. optikos "of or having to do with sight," from optos "seen, visible," from op-, root of opsesthai "be going to see," related to ops "eye," from PIE *oqw- "eye/see" (see eye). Optics
"science of sight and light" is from 1570s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

optic op·tic (ŏp'tĭk) or op·ti·cal (ŏp'tĭ-kəl)

  1. Of or relating to the eye or vision.

  2. Of or relating to the science of optics or optical equipment.

optics op·tics (ŏp'tĭks)
The science concerned with the properties of light, its refraction and absorption, and the refracting media of the eye.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
optic   (ŏp'tĭk)  Pronunciation Key 
Relating to or involving the eye or vision.
optics   (ŏp'tĭks)  Pronunciation Key 
The scientific study of light and vision. The study of optics led to the development of more general theories of electromagnetic radiation and theories of color.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

optics definition

The branch of physics dealing with light. (See electromagnetic waves, laser, lens, reflection, and refraction.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Yet those same bleared optics had a strange, penetrating power, when it was
  their owner's purpose to read the human soul.
Humans are, after all, increasingly using fibre optics to talk to each other.
Adaptive optics put the observatory at the cutting edge.
The fiber material is used commonly in the manufacture of fiber optics.
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