Definition of panoptic in English:



  • Showing or seeing the whole at one view.

    ‘a panoptic aerial view’
    • ‘That is, just as a pineapple has eyes that face in all directions, Angka has panoptic vision.’
    • ‘From its panoptic position the eye of the man/aeroplane was objective and merciless, it not only sees, it also judges.’
    • ‘First, they were subjected to the new discipline of constantly being made to write, and to be examined and graded on the results of their writing, and thereby were made subject to a panoptic system of surveillance and judgment.’
    • ‘We hear over and over again about global systems and panoptic vision on the one hand and genome chains and nano-entities on the other.’
    • ‘This situation reminds me of Foucault's notion of the panoptic, the all-seeing eye capable of watching all areas at once, thus ensuring compliance and control.’


Early 19th century: from Greek panoptos ‘seen by all’, from panoptēs ‘all-seeing’ + -ic.