Definition of oculus in English:


Line breaks: ocu¦lus
Pronunciation: /ˈɒkjʊləs

noun (plural oculi /-lʌɪ, -liː/)

  • 1A round or eye-like opening or design, in particular:
    More example sentences
    • Either way, feeding a signal from a microphone placed in the oculus gives a real audio picture of the size of the space.
    • What could have swayed Capponi away from the plan for an oculus and toward the tall, narrow shape employed by Marcillat?
    • Vents in the facade, the cupolas, and the oculi inside allowed air to circulate throughout the building.
  • 1.1A circular window.
    More example sentences
    • The oculus windows depicted in each of their two cells illuminate the figures with an otherworldly silvery light.
    • The sun streams in through the open oculus, tracing a circular disk across the walls and floor, creating a walk-in solar observatory.
    • The oculus window will complement two large stained glass windows that have been installed in the third-floor ceiling.
  • 1.2The central boss of a volute.
    More example sentences
    • Formed by the intersection of toroidal geometries, the roof is composed of two shells that interlock at the centre of which is a great glass oculus.
  • 1.3An opening at the apex of a dome.
    More example sentences
    • At the top of the columns a concrete-on-steel deck platform forms the oculus of the interior dome.
    • Supported by slender steel columns that splay arboreally at their tops, the concrete canopy is perforated by a series of different-sized oculi.
    • The major interior space, the Potomac rotunda, balloons under a domed ceiling with an oculus, reaching a height of 120 feet.


mid 19th century: from Latin, literally 'eye'.

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