Definition of telescope in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈteləˌskōp/


Image of telescope
1An optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses, or of curved mirrors and lenses, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified.
Example sentences
  • We use electromagnetic waves to detect and image objects: light waves for optical microscopes and telescopes, electrons for electron microscopes and radar.
  • Even though supernovas can appear as bright as galaxies when viewed with optical telescopes, this light represents only a small fraction of the energy released.
  • In recent years he has focused on astronomy, using lasers to help combine images from distant telescopes, effectively creating a huge virtual lens.
spyglass, glass
informal scope
1.1 short for radio telescope.
Example sentences
  • Tiny, aligned telescopes can send and detect single photons sent through the air.
  • The two telescopes monitored frequencies outside the range of mobile phones and satellite television so would pick up least interference.
  • A suite of infrared, wide-field telescopes installed along the length of the aircraft's fuselage detects the missile plume at ranges up to several hundred km.


1(With reference to an object made of concentric tubular parts) slide or cause to slide into itself, so that it becomes smaller: [no object]: five steel sections that telescope into one another
More example sentences
  • The telescoping ladder is now available in boats made by eight other builders.
  • They were made to be driven into the mud on a telescoping rod, giving the appearance of a brant flying above the water.
  • One other item of big news with this camera is speed, despite having a telescoping lens system we have timed start-up as just 0.9 seconds if the lens was left at wide angle at power off and around 1.9 seconds if at telephoto.
1.1 [with object] Crush (a vehicle) by the force of an impact.
Example sentences
  • The locomotive, tender, and first three cars derailed, and the express car was partially telescoped by the tender.
  • He remounted his motorcycle and paused momentarily to look down into the dried bed of the klong at the smoking telescoped vehicle there, as the hospital staff swarmed all over it.
  • An engine had telescoped two cars, and the second car had telescoped the car in front of it.
concertina, compact, compress, crush, squash
1.2 [with object] Condense or conflate so as to occupy less space or time: a way of telescoping many events into a relatively brief period
More example sentences
  • Furthermore, I feel it is perfectly legitimate, in the interests of creating a good drama, to telescope events or create symbolic scenes.
  • At the risk of unduly telescoping or compressing modern Malaysian history, just two political turning-points will now be identified.
  • Their budding relationship and accumulating discoveries, crudely telescoped in this screenplay, unfold in laborious parallel with the flashback 19 th-century affair.
condense, shorten, reduce, abbreviate, abridge, summarize, précis, abstract, shrink, consolidate;
truncate, curtail


Mid 17th century: from Italian telescopio or modern Latin telescopium, from tele- 'at a distance' + -scopium (see -scope).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tel·e·scope

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