Definition of focal in US English:



  • 1Relating to the center or main point of interest.

    ‘tapestries in which birds or animals provide the focal interest’
    • ‘Radical challengers have a hard time appearing inevitable or focal.’
    • ‘We performed region of interest analysis in two focal brain areas: the hippocampus and the temporal lobes.’
    • ‘They have a new, contemporary edge and are being used as accents or on single focal walls in a room.’
    • ‘But we do intend to put something back that we can all be proud of to make a new focal centre of the village again.’
    • ‘Hence, we repeated our analysis, splitting our data into whether the focal bird was dominant or subordinate.’
    • ‘The third plot while without a central focal character is the most important thread: the coming of the Second Boxer Rebellion in China.’
    • ‘Dubey cuts the figures at the edges and at unusual angles to create focal interest in the compositions.’
    • ‘For comprehensive understanding, it is important to have focal and subsidiary awareness of ethical dilemmas.’
    • ‘The focal theme this time was ‘strategies for drought management and alternate cropping system in canal areas’.’
    • ‘With this idea of perpetual motivation, the Internet has become the focal source/medium of the research.’
    • ‘The statement will acknowledge that the retail industry is changing and will stress the need for suitable locations to be found for large focal retailers.’
    • ‘A focal outlet would also be set up in the Board for exploring the export possibilities for khadi products, adds Mr. Nandakumar.’
    • ‘Combinations of these types, such as oblique faulting, are depicted by variations of these principal types of focal mechanisms.’
    • ‘The headlight also has a convergent lens which is focused in the vicinity of the second focal region so as to project this light patch on the road.’
    • ‘In the Maldives, the sea is the focal attraction - a perfect narrow crescent of a beach lapped by the lagoon-like Indian Ocean.’
    • ‘Perhaps more important, excitation and photobleaching are limited to the focal region.’
    • ‘To date, most of the work in this area has focused on repurchase intentions as the focal dependent variable.’
    • ‘At the 2002 World Cup he was focal to England's strategies.’
    • ‘We focused our analysis on a focal population receiving migrants from an infinitely large number of populations.’
    • ‘But a better organizing principle - some kind of narrative or focal story, numbered points, whatever - would help us remember more.’
    important, main, principal, major, chief, primary, notable, noteworthy, outstanding, arresting, conspicuous, striking, noticeable, obvious, remarkable, signal, prominent, pronounced, predominant, dominant, key, crucial, vital, essential, basic, staple, critical, pivotal, prime, central, paramount
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    1. 1.1Optics Relating to the focus of a lens.
      • ‘Huygens discovered the law of refraction to derive the focal distances of lenses.’
      • ‘Meduna identified six patients with focal seizures in whom the brain focus was surgically excised.’
      • ‘Such focal adjustability may not be available in phakic lenses for at least four years.’
      • ‘Residual longitudinal chromatic aberration introduces a focal shift for any wavelength variation.’
      • ‘There are now Bifocal lenses, a type of contact lens design that includes two focal areas: one for near, one for distance.’
    2. 1.2 (of a disease or medical condition) occurring in one particular site in the body.
      • ‘Lung involvement ranges from fleeting focal infiltrates or interstitial disease to massive pulmonary hemorrhagic alveolar capillaritis.’
      • ‘In 141 autopsies of people without focal neurological disease, 57 probably had Alzheimer's disease.’
      • ‘The laryngeal inlet showed chronic inflammatory changes and the tongue showed focal congestion and mild inflammatory changes.’
      • ‘If CAV is present, then options such as coronary interventions may be used, depending on whether focal disease is present.’
      • ‘Cranial vasculitis may lead to focal neurologic deficits.’


Late 17th century: from modern Latin focalis, from Latin focus, or directly from focus.