from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An arrangement of lenses or mirrors or both that gathers light, permitting direct observation or photographic recording of distant objects.
  • noun Any of various devices, such as a radio telescope, used to detect and observe distant objects by their emission, absorption, or reflection of electromagnetic radiation.
  • intransitive verb To cause to slide inward or outward in overlapping sections, as the cylindrical sections of a small hand telescope do.
  • intransitive verb To make more compact or concise; condense.
  • intransitive verb To slide inward or outward in or as if in overlapping cylindrical sections.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun An optical instrument by means of which distant objects are made to appear nearer and larger.
  • noun [capitalized] Same as Telescopium.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Recent To cause to come into collision, so as to telescope.
  • transitive verb to shorten or abridge significantly.
  • intransitive verb Recent 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.
  • adjective Capable of being extended or compacted, like a telescope, by the sliding of joints or parts one within the other; telescopic
  • noun An optical instrument used in viewing distant objects, as the heavenly bodies.
  • noun See under Achromatic.
  • noun a telescope having an aplanatic eyepiece.
  • noun a telescope which has a simple eyepiece so constructed or used as not to reverse the image formed by the object glass, and consequently exhibits objects inverted, which is not a hindrance in astronomical observations.
  • noun a reflecting telescope invented by Cassegrain, which differs from the Gregorian only in having the secondary speculum convex instead of concave, and placed nearer the large speculum. The Cassegrainian represents objects inverted; the Gregorian, in their natural position. The Melbourne telescope (see Illust. under Reflecting telescope, below) is a Cassegrainian telescope.
  • noun See under Dialytic.
  • noun See the Note under Equatorial.
  • noun a refracting telescope in which the eyeglass is a concave instead of a convex lens, as in the common opera glass. This was the construction originally adopted by Galileo, the inventor of the instrument. It exhibits the objects erect, that is, in their natural positions.
  • noun a form of reflecting telescope. See under Gregorian.
  • noun a reflecting telescope of the form invented by Sir William Herschel, in which only one speculum is employed, by means of which an image of the object is formed near one side of the open end of the tube, and to this the eyeglass is applied directly.
  • noun a form of reflecting telescope. See under Newtonian.
  • noun a telescope specially constructed to make photographs of the heavenly bodies.
  • noun See Teinoscope.
  • noun a telescope in which the image is formed by a speculum or mirror (or usually by two speculums, a large one at the lower end of the telescope, and the smaller one near the open end) instead of an object glass. See Gregorian, Cassegrainian, Herschelian, and Newtonian, telescopes, above.
  • noun a telescope in which the image is formed by refraction through an object glass.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the telescope fish.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a monstrous variety of the goldfish having very protuberant eyes.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any two-winged fly of the genus Diopsis, native of Africa and Asia. The telescope flies are remarkable for having the eyes raised on very long stalks.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an elongated gastropod (Cerithium telescopium) having numerous flattened whorls.
  • noun (Firearms) a slender telescope attached to the barrel, having cross wires in the eyepiece and used as a sight.
  • noun a telescope whose eyepiece has one or two lenses more than the astronomical, for the purpose of inverting the image, and exhibiting objects erect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • verb crush together or collapse
  • verb make smaller or shorter
  • noun 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; see spek- in Indo-European roots.]

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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  • 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

  • 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