Definition of subtense in English:



  • 1A subtending line, especially the chord of an arc.

    • ‘The evanescent subtense of the angle of contact, in all curves which at the point of contact have a finite curvature, is ultimately in the duplicate ratio of the subtense of the conterminate arc.’
    • ‘The controlled magnification optics as well as a compact design allow for a small subtense angle and increased efficiency.’
    • ‘What is the visual subtense of the spot?’
    1. 1.1 The angle subtended by a line at a point.
      • ‘Relative distance magnification is achieved when the distance to the object is decreased, thereby increasing the angular subtense of the object.’
      • ‘However, when the angular subtense of the missile flare is greater than the angular subtense of the target, the target will be totally obscured by the flare when the missile is on the sightline.’
      • ‘The average angular subtenses of Ricco's areas for the ten youngest and ten oldest observers were approximately 48 and 69 arc min, respectively.’
      • ‘The center of perspective is that viewpoint at which the angular subtenses of points in the picture are identical with the angular subtenses of the original points in the scene, at the camera lens.’
      • ‘The image has a larger angular subtense than the original object; therefore, the objects appear larger when seen through this optical system even though the virtual image is smaller than the object.’


Early 17th century: from modern Latin subtensa (linea), feminine past participle of subtendere (see subtend).