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See also: lēns, Lens, and Lëns


The lenses in bifocals bend light, distorting the appearance of the background.
English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Latin lēns (lentil); Medieval Latin later taking on the sense of "lens"; a semantic loan from Arabicعَدْسَة(ʕadsa, lentil; optic lens).


  • IPA(key): /lɛnz/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnz


lens (plural lenses or (obsolete) lens or (rare) lentes)

  1. An object, usually made of glass, that focuses or defocuses the light that passes through it.
    • 2013 July-August, Catherine Clabby, “Focus on Everything”, in American Scientist:
      Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus. That’s because the lenses that are excellent at magnifying tiny subjects produce a narrow depth of field.
  2. A device which focuses or defocuses electron beams.
  3. (geometry) A convex shape bounded by two circular arcs, joined at their endpoints, the corresponding concave shape being a lune.
  4. (biology) A genus of the legume family; its bean.
  5. (anatomy) The transparent crystalline structure in the eye.
    • 2013 July-August, Fenella Saunders, “Tiny Lenses See the Big Picture”, in American Scientist:
      The single-imaging optic of the mammalian eye offers some distinct visual advantages. Such lenses can take in photons from a wide range of angles, increasing light sensitivity. They also have high spatial resolution, resolving incoming images in minute detail.
  6. (earth science) A body of rock, ice, or water shaped like a convex lens.
  7. (programming) A construct used in statically-typed functional programming languages to access nested data structures.
  8. (by extension, figuratively) A way of looking, literally or figuratively, at something.
    • 2004 April 11, Ann Hulbert, “Are the Kids All Right?”, in The New York Times Magazine, page 11:
      If "the public looks at the condition of America's children largely through a negative lens," worries Child Trends [] , "it may be more difficult to [] promote child well-being."
    • 2023 April 26, Benjamin Lee, quoting Steven Spielberg, “Steven Spielberg: ‘No film should be revised’ based on modern sensitivity”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily, or being forced to peer through.

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from lens (noun)


  • Bengali: লেন্স (lenśo)
  • Turkish: lens


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


lens (third-person singular simple present lenses, present participle lensing, simple past and past participle lensed)

  1. (transitive, cinematography) To film, shoot.
    • 2020 May 7, Katie Rife, “If you’re looking to jump in your seat, make a playdate with Z”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      It’s set in an anonymous, upper-middle-class suburb, lensed in the generic gunmetal gray that will one day appear as dated as the fuzzy outlines of ’80s direct-to-video horror movies.
  2. (geology) To become thinner towards the edges.




From Dutch lens, from Latin lēns (lentil).



lens (plural lense)

  1. lens



lens n

  1. genitive singular indefinite of len
  2. genitive plural indefinite of len


Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia nl


Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from Latin lēns (lentil).


lens f (plural lenzen, diminutive lensje n)

  1. (optics) optical lens
  2. crystalline lens in the eye
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably related to lans (lance).


lens m (plural lenzen, diminutive lensje n)

  1. (historical) A type of barbless harpoon used for killing whales.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle Dutch lense, of uncertain origin. Perhaps a variant of Middle Dutch lunse (see luns), or perhaps a dialectal borrowing from Old Frisian *lens, *lenis, from Proto-West Germanic *lunis, related to Old English lynis (linchpin).


lens f (plural lenzen, diminutive lensje n)

  1. Alternative form of luns

Etymology 4[edit]


lens (comparative lenzer, superlative meest lens or lenst)

  1. empty
  2. weak, flaccid
Inflection of lens
uninflected lens
inflected lenze
comparative lenzer
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial lens lenzer het lenst
het lenste
indefinite m./f. sing. lenze lenzere lenste
n. sing. lens lenzer lenste
plural lenze lenzere lenste
definite lenze lenzere lenste
partitive lens lenzers
Derived terms[edit]



Etymology 1[edit]

Unknown, likely a borrowing from an unidentified source.

Compare Old High German linsa, Lithuanian lęšis, Old Church Slavonic лѧща (lęšta), and Albanian lend (Proto-Albanian *lenta), sounding too similar for a coincidence, however different enough to prohibit reconstruction of a common PIE protoform. May also be related to Ancient Greek λάθυρος (láthuros).

If ultimately a non-IE substrate loanword, locating the source is virtually impossible because cultivation of lentil was widespread in the region since the Neolithic.



lēns f (genitive lentis); third declension

  1. lentil
  2. (Medieval Latin) lens

Third-declension noun (i-stem, accusative singular in -em or -im, ablative singular in -e or ).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative lēns lentēs
Genitive lentis lentium
Dative lentī lentibus
Accusative lentem
Ablative lente
Vocative lēns lentēs
Derived terms[edit]
  • Aromanian: linti
  • Catalan: lent
  • Friulian: lint
  • Galician: lente
  • Italian: lente
  • Portuguese: lente
  • Romanian: linte
  • Sicilian: lenti
  • Spanish: lente
  • Venetian: lente
  • Dutch: lens (learned) (see there for further descendants)
  • English: lens (learned) (see there for further descendants)
  • Proto-West Germanic: *linsī (see there for further descendants)

Etymology 2[edit]

Unknown. According to de Vaan, perhaps a deformed form of what is found as Proto-Slavic *gňìda (nit), Proto-Germanic *hnits (nit), Ancient Greek κονίς (konís) (gen. κονίδος (konídos)), Armenian անիծ (anic, nit); he proposes Proto-Indo-European *dḱ(o)nid- > *dkni-n-d- > *dklind- > Proto-Italic *(d)lind-. However, like the Indo-European cognates, it may be of substrate origin.


lēns f (genitive lendis); third declension

  1. nit (egg of a louse)

Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative lēns lendēs
Genitive lendis lendum
Dative lendī lendibus
Accusative lendem lendēs
Ablative lende lendibus
Vocative lēns lendēs
  • Gallo-Romance:
  • Late Latin: lendis (see there for further descendants)


Further reading[edit]

  • lens”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • lens”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • lens in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette



From English lens; ultimately from Latin lēns.


lens (definite accusative lensi, plural lensler)

  1. contact lens


Nominative lens
Definite accusative lensi
Singular Plural
Nominative lens lensler
Definite accusative lensi lensleri
Dative lense lenslere
Locative lenste lenslerde
Ablative lensten lenslerden
Genitive lensin lenslerin