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A: The bottom of a concave meniscus.
B: The top of a convex meniscus.
Notional section through Meniscus lens, showing it to be concavo-convex, with a positive focus because it is thicker in the middle than the edge
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From Ancient Greek μηνίσκος (mēnískos, crescent), from μήνη (mḗnē, moon)


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /mə.ˈnɪs.kəs/, /mɛ.ˈnɪs.kəs/
  • (file)
  • (file)


meniscus (plural meniscuses or menisci)

  1. A crescent moon, or an object shaped like it. [from 17th c.]
    • 1959, Anthony Burgess, Beds in the East (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 554:
      And from Crabbe's own forehead sweat dripped or gathered into a kind of meniscus to be scooped off.
    • 1972, Vladimir Nabokov, Transparent Things, McGraw-Hill 1972, p. 19:
      He opened wide both casements; they gave on a parking place four floors below; the thin meniscus overhead was too wan to illumine the roofs of the houses descending toward the invisible lake [...].
  2. (optics) A lens which is convex on one side and concave on the other, being crescent-shaped in cross-section. [from 17th c.]
  3. The curved surface of liquids in tubes, whether concave or convex, caused by the surface tension of the liquid. [from 19th c.]
  4. (anatomy) Either of two parts of the human knee that provide structural integrity to the knee when it undergoes tension and torsion. [from 19th c.]


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