Definition of parallax in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions, e.g. through the viewfinder and the lens of a camera.

    [as modifier] ‘what you see in the viewfinder won't be quite what you get in the photograph because of parallax error’
    • ‘Each element was then centered in the lens to decrease distortion from lens curvature or parallax.’
    • ‘It is easier to see the effect of parallax the closer the foreground object is to you.’
    • ‘Other achievements of Aepinus include improvements to the microscope, and his demonstration of the effects of parallax in the transit of a planet across the Sun's disk.’
    • ‘An improved configuration uses a splitter mirror to eliminate the effects of parallax but not the differences in lenses.’
    • ‘The actual contact times for any given observer may differ by up to 7 minutes due to the effects of parallax.’
    1. 1.1[count noun]The angular amount of parallax in a particular case, especially that of a star viewed from different points in the earth's orbit.
      ‘he succeeded in measuring the parallax of the star 61 Cygni’
      • ‘The work on double stars had been undertaken as a continuation of his father's work which attempted to measure the parallax of a star.’
      • ‘Their parts evolve in a kinetic parallax of curves and angles that create a shifting perceptual spectacle.’
      • ‘Read Eco's novel, which is full of Paris meridians, lunar parallaxes, the moons of Jupiter, and the Powder of Sympathy.’
      • ‘He also gives the tables of the longitudinal and latitudinal parallaxes for certain geographical latitudes, tables of eclipses, and tables of the visibility of the moon.’
      • ‘To measure the parallax, Bradley intended to make a series of observations, noticing how it moved against the background.’


Late 16th century (also in the general sense ‘fact of seeing wrongly’): from French parallaxe, from Greek parallaxis a change, from parallassein to alternate, based on allassein to exchange (from allos other).