from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An arrangement of lenses or mirrors or both that gathers visible light, permitting direct observation or photographic recording of distant objects.
  • n. Any of various devices, such as a radio telescope, used to detect and observe distant objects by their emission, transmission, reflection, or other interaction with invisible radiation.
  • transitive v. To cause to slide inward or outward in overlapping sections, as the cylindrical sections of a small hand telescope do.
  • transitive v. To make more compact or concise; condense.
  • intransitive v. To slide inward or outward in or as if in overlapping cylindrical sections: a camp bucket that telescopes into a disk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A monocular optical instrument possessing magnification for observing distant objects, especially in astronomy.
  • n. Any instrument used in astronomy for observing distant objects (such as a radio telescope).
  • v. To extend or contract in the manner of a telescope.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being extended or compacted, like a telescope, by the sliding of joints or parts one within the other; telescopic
  • n. An optical instrument used in viewing distant objects, as the heavenly bodies.
  • intransitive v. To slide or pass one within another, after the manner of the sections of a small telescope or spyglass; to come into collision, as railway cars, in such a manner that one runs into another; to become compressed in the manner of a telescope, due to a collision or other force.
  • transitive v. To cause to come into collision, so as to telescope.
  • transitive v. to shorten or abridge significantly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To drive into one another like the movable joints or slides of a spy-glass: as, in the collision the forward cars were telescoped; to shut up or protrude like a jointed telescope.
  • To move in the same manner as the slides of a pocket-telescope; especially, to run or be driven together so that the one partially enters the other: as, two of the carriages telescoped.
  • n. An optical instrument by means of which distant objects are made to appear nearer and larger.
  • n. [capitalized] Same as Telescopium.
  • n. A telescope with its tube completely filled with water. Such an instrument was used by Airy at Greenwich, about 1870, as part of a zenith-sector, in order to settle by observation certain questions relating to the aberration of light.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. crush together or collapse
  • v. make smaller or shorter
  • n. a magnifier of images of distant objects


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

New Latin telescopium or Italian telescopio, both from Greek tēleskopos, far-seeing : tēle-, tele- + skopos, watcher.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

tele- + -scope. From Latin telescopium, from Ancient Greek τηλεσκόπος (tēleskopos, "far-seeing"), from τῆλε (tēle, "afar") + σκοπέω (skopeō, "I look at").



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  • Lewis Carroll uses it often in dealing with Alice's growing and shrinking:

    "Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); "now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!"

    July 18, 2008

  • Never knew that it have so many meanings! Especially to crush or compress - now I can use telescope in conversations and really confuse people....


    May 20, 2008