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See also: òptics



Etymology 1[edit]

From Medieval Latin opticus (optic, optical), from Ancient Greek ὀπτικός (optikós), equivalent to optic +‎ -ics.


optics (uncountable)

  1. (physics) The physics of light and vision.
  2. The light-related aspects of a device.
    The optics of this telescope are particularly good.
    • 2013 September-October, Henry Petroski, “The Evolution of Eyeglasses”, in American Scientist:
      Digging deeper, the invention of eyeglasses is an elaboration of the more fundamental development of optics technology. The ability of a segment of a glass sphere to magnify whatever is placed before it was known around the year 1000, when the spherical segment was called a reading stone, [] .
  3. (figuratively) Perception, image, public relations.
    • 2007 January 1, Mark Steyn, “Blowing a 'hinge moment' of history”, in The Jerusalem Post[1]:
      [] I'd be interested to know whether US authorities proffered any "advice" on the optics: Ixnay on the torture dungeon, [] ; if you have to have victims' loved ones present, go for the widows and photogenic orphans rather than Moqtada's boys.
    • 2015 September 28, Vanessa Barford, quoting Dan Neil, “Pope Francis and the little black car”, in BBC News[2]:
      "There's also a gentle nod to the Vatican and Italy, which shows the Pope is not above playing a little optics - I'm sure he and the CEO of Fiat have met."
    • 2021 February 9, David D. Kirkpatrick; Mike McIntire, quoting Mike Shirkey, “‘Its Own Domestic Army’: How the G.O.P. Allied Itself With Militants”, in The New York Times[3], ISSN 0362-4331:
      “The optics weren’t good. Next time tell them not to bring guns”
Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. plural of optic