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panopticon

[pan-op-ti-kon] /pænˈɒp tɪˌkɒn/
noun
1.
a building, as a prison, hospital, library, or the like, so arranged that all parts of the interior are visible from a single point.
Origin
1760-1770
1760-70; pan- + Greek optikón sight, seeing (neuter of optikós; see optic)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for panopticon
n.

1768, a type of optical instrument or telescope, from Greek pan "all" (see pan-) + optikon, neuter of optikos "of or for sight" (see optic). Later the name of a type of prison designed by Bentham (1791) in which wardens had a constant view of all inmates, and "a showroom" (1850).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for panopticon

architectural form for a prison, the drawings for which were published by Jeremy Bentham in 1791. It consisted of a circular, glass-roofed, tanklike structure with cells along the external wall facing toward a central rotunda; guards stationed in the rotunda could keep all the inmates in the surrounding cells under constant surveillance. Although Bentham's novel idea was not fully adopted in the plans for penal institutions built at that time, its radial plan was immediately influential, and its design clearly had an impact on later construction. For example, the Stateville Correctional Center, a prison near Joliet, Ill., U.S., incorporates essential features of the panopticon.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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