Definition of telescope in English:



  • 1An optical instrument designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses, or of curved mirrors and lenses, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified.

    • ‘Italian mathematician and astronomer Galileo Galilei used the first optical telescope, a refractor, in 1610.’
    • ‘The most obvious way in which we can escape from the physical limitations of our eyes is to employ a microscope, magnifying glass, or optical telescope to improve magnification and resolution.’
    • ‘He was particularly interested in the ideas of improving telescope design by using lenses made up of two different types of glass.’
    • ‘He was particularly famous for his optical instruments, such as the lenses used in telescopes, that were highly valued among European physicists.’
    • ‘This was carried out using an eyepiece from a telescope, an optical instrument with a longer pedigree than the microscope.’
    • ‘His novel idea was to use both mirrors and lenses in his telescope.’
    • ‘Now we have evidence from observations, images, with large telescopes and the Hubble space telescope that show bright and dark regions on Titan's surface.’
    • ‘In recent years he has focused on astronomy, using lasers to help combine images from distant telescopes, effectively creating a huge virtual lens.’
    • ‘The occluding spot is placed at the focal plane of the telescope and prevents light from striking any optical elements further down in the optical path.’
    • ‘Given that most asteroids appear merely as pinpricks of light in our telescopes, how can we fathom their dimensions?’
    • ‘Observing astronomical objects in the infrared means that we can see much more than we can with optical telescopes.’
    • ‘Even though supernovas can appear as bright as galaxies when viewed with optical telescopes, this light represents only a small fraction of the energy released.’
    • ‘When most people think of astronomy, they envision gazing at the stars through an optical telescope, a system of mirrors and lenses that collects light.’
    • ‘Spectrographs are devices used by astronomers to break up the light collected by a telescope into its various colors, or wavelengths.’
    • ‘Today's largest optical telescopes now have collecting apertures that are 10 m in diameter - some 500 times that of Galileo's first effort.’
    • ‘Other stations showed images from the few optical telescopes in Earth orbit.’
    • ‘He overcame this by designing a telescope based on a mirror.’
    • ‘We use electromagnetic waves to detect and image objects: light waves for optical microscopes and telescopes, electrons for electron microscopes and radar.’
    • ‘His current work uses lasers to help combine images from distant telescopes.’
    • ‘Using his experimental abilities, he ground lenses and assembled a telescope.’
    spyglass, glass
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      short for radio telescope
      • ‘The two telescopes monitored frequencies outside the range of mobile phones and satellite television so would pick up least interference.’
      • ‘"Using them in this way gives us the equivalent of an 85-meter telescope.’
      • ‘A suite of infrared, wide-field telescopes installed along the length of the aircraft's fuselage detects the missile plume at ranges up to several hundred km.’
      • ‘Tiny, aligned telescopes can send and detect single photons sent through the air.’
      • ‘A new space telescope might provide the answer.’
      • ‘Once they are all in place, they will form the largest radio telescope on Earth.’


  • 1(with reference to an object made of concentric tubular parts) slide or cause to slide into itself, so that it becomes smaller.

    [no object] ‘five steel sections that telescope into one another’
    • ‘From behind the wheel, Maxima is all luxury car, from the power telescoping steering wheel to the comfortable seats.’
    • ‘A common criticism of telescoping posts is that they affect seat height; make sure you readjust your seat height to compensate for the sag of the post under your riding weight.’
    • ‘The telescoping ladder is now available in boats made by eight other builders.’
    • ‘One other item of big news with this camera is speed, despite having a telescoping lens system we have timed start-up as just 0.9 seconds if the lens was left at wide angle at power off and around 1.9 seconds if at telephoto.’
    • ‘They were made to be driven into the mud on a telescoping rod, giving the appearance of a brant flying above the water.’
    slide together, collapse
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Crush (a vehicle) by the force of an impact.
      • ‘He remounted his motorcycle and paused momentarily to look down into the dried bed of the klong at the smoking telescoped vehicle there, as the hospital staff swarmed all over it.’
      • ‘The dining car of the wrecked train jumped to the side track and ran into the freight engine, which telescoped the car.’
      • ‘An engine had telescoped two cars, and the second car had telescoped the car in front of it.’
      • ‘The locomotive, tender, and first three cars derailed, and the express car was partially telescoped by the tender.’
      crush, concertina, squash, compact, compress
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[with object] Condense or conflate so as to occupy less space or time.
      ‘a way of telescoping many events into a relatively brief period’
      • ‘At the risk of unduly telescoping or compressing modern Malaysian history, just two political turning-points will now be identified.’
      • ‘The sentiments expressed may be dramatic, but that is what happens when four years of your life are telescoped down into 13 seconds of breath-taking speed and agility.’
      • ‘Furthermore, I feel it is perfectly legitimate, in the interests of creating a good drama, to telescope events or create symbolic scenes.’
      • ‘But their timescales, given to telescoping when they make demands of others, have always been elastic with regard to requirements of themselves.’
      • ‘Their budding relationship and accumulating discoveries, crudely telescoped in this screenplay, unfold in laborious parallel with the flashback 19 th-century affair.’
      condense, shorten, reduce, abbreviate, abridge, summarize, precis, abstract, boil down, shrink, encapsulate
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Italian telescopio or modern Latin telescopium, from tele- at a distance + -scopium (see -scope).