Definition of visible in US English:



  • 1Able to be seen.

    ‘the church spire is visible from miles away’
    • ‘Towering above the frankly nondescript suburbs of a frankly nondescript town, the Big Swan stadium was visible from miles away.’
    • ‘Ana Cross stands proud on a tumulus, visible from half a mile away.’
    • ‘It still was freezing outside, and the same mountains still were visible 20 miles to the east.’
    • ‘The memorial takes the form of two projected towers of light, which will beam from dusk until 11 pm, visible for miles around, a hologram of loss.’
    • ‘In the early nineties the quarry was an ugly eyesore on the local landscape with plant equipment visible for miles around and emissions of white dust across the local countryside commonplace.’
    • ‘It is visible for miles around due to its medieval tower, known by the locals as le tour Anglais.’
    • ‘The day was super clear, yet York wasn't visible at 30 miles.’
    • ‘If sufficient, the firm is planning to build a wind farm of up to 30 turbines which, at 90 metres high, would be visible for miles around.’
    • ‘The bikes were donated by resident's associations in Milnshaw and Laneside, and officers are easily visible with their bright orange uniforms.’
    • ‘But some of the park's neighbours have claimed the tower ride, which is visible from several miles away, is an eyesore and have called for its removal.’
    • ‘The main gateway to St Jude's Shrine becomes visible a mile or so out of Omeath on the main road to Carlingford in Ireland's County Louth.’
    • ‘An enormous hole had been made by the impact of the projectile, and the sand and gravel had been flung violently in every direction over the heath, forming heaps visible a mile and a half away.’
    • ‘Smaller patches of oil were visible less than three miles from the north-western coast, officials said.’
    • ‘Under the agreement, children have also received Be Safe Be Seen accessories such as reflective bands in a bid to make them more easily visible to motorists.’
    • ‘The flames have been burning a path across southern California, a combustible mix of hot air and nature's unquenchable rage visible for miles around and scarring everything in its path.’
    • ‘Newly-erected wind turbines on the Braes of Doune, Perthshire are visible 10 miles away in Bannockburn.’
    • ‘Some say it is visible 34 miles away on a clear day.’
    • ‘The horse, visible from many miles away across the Vale of York, is 340 feet long and 228 feet high, and covers about an acre.’
    • ‘With sails unfurled, Cosmos 1 will be bright enough to be easily visible to the naked eye.’
    • ‘A towering cloud of black smoke flanked by soaring flames was visible for miles around, providing an awesome and menacing picture of the developing inferno.’
    • ‘You can't miss it - it's a bright, pinkish-tinted ‘star’, easily visible even near street lamps.’
    • ‘More than 180 firefighters fought a blaze that melted cars and lorries, saw half the town evacuated and sent up a plume of smoke that was visible 15 miles away.’
    • ‘Before you turn south note that north-west, about half a mile away and probably visible is Ana Cross, a tall, complete cross shape and a magnet for walkers and bikers.’
    • ‘In the forty miles of landscape visible from the hilltop, those two towers were the only buildings in sight.’
    1. 1.1Physics (of light) within the range of wavelengths to which the eye is sensitive.
      • ‘By the time they reach the Earth, many photons have wavelengths that are out of the range of visible light or are even too large to be detected.’
      • ‘Light occupies a very small section of the electromagnetic spectrum, and visible light occupies an even narrower range.’
      • ‘However, metals usually absorb rather than reflect the shorter wavelengths of infrared and visible light that are required for photonic circuits.’
      • ‘The colour of a pigment is dictated by the way it absorbs certain parts of the spectrum that make up visible light and reflects others.’
      • ‘What's the best technique for defining features smaller than a wavelength of visible light?’
    2. 1.2 Able to be perceived or noticed easily.
      ‘a visible improvement’
      • ‘Too many people leave windows and doors open or unlocked; leave attractive or valuable items easily visible; make the assumption that all will remain intact.’
      • ‘In practice many basalts also contain easily visible crystals of feldspar, pyroxene, olivine, or amphibole.’
      • ‘As I admire the beauty of the Three Peaks from a distance I notice the visible scars of the footpaths, which is a testament to the erosion caused by thousands of walking boots.’
      • ‘Lynn also suggests handrails on either side of the steps, and painting a white line across the top of each step, to make it more easily visible to those with poor sight.’
      • ‘In the illustration the water was clear, so each feature of the dugong was easily visible.’
      • ‘Such damage might not be easily visible from a distance, but it is surprising how often a large number of small scratches ruin the look of a painstakingly crafted piece of jewellery.’
      • ‘The swelling protrudes and is easily visible; its blackish coloring gives the disease its name: the Black Death.’
      • ‘A visible change was noticed in places where the public gathered.’
      • ‘This link need not be the most prominent on the homepage, but it should be present and easily visible.’
      • ‘They are easily visible on white painted walls and ceilings.’
      • ‘‘The cafe is at the front and easily visible through the clear glass frontages and so is a very open and welcoming environment,’ he said.’
      • ‘But we are noticing a visible difference in the garbage we buy for compost.’
      • ‘At the end of the trials all mussels were examined for any visible signs of external damage such as chips to the outer margins of the shell.’
      • ‘The outline of the outer walls of the cottage is easily visible as a brace of teenagers scratch away at the earth.’
      • ‘Vocal skill development is an interesting example, for there is no obvious visible or easily manipulable body part engaged in the activity.’
      • ‘The artery should be easily palpable or visible with transillumination.’
      • ‘He said missing panels on the walkway would not have been easily visible to passengers.’
      • ‘She hasn't got a bad back or broken leg or some other easily visible form of injury.’
      • ‘First-year pine seedlings, grown in the greenhouse in southern Finland, will set an easily visible terminal bud toward the end of the summer.’
      • ‘There is a sign for road users to say the crossing is not yet in use, but nothing to say this, easily visible, for footpath users!’
      perceptible, perceivable, seeable, observable, noticeable, easily seen, detectable, discernible, recognizable, in view, in sight, on view, on display
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 In a position of public prominence.
      ‘a highly visible member of the royal entourage’
      • ‘But most of its output was nothing like that: it was drab, ordinary, commercial style programming with no visible public service value.’
      • ‘Out there, high-end, multispeciality hospitals are going the extra mile to get visible at home and abroad.’
      • ‘This visible public statement of solidarity could be seen as potentially very empowering for those participating in such events.’
      • ‘Insisting he did not pay too much attention to polls, Mr Kenny pointed out that a great deal of organisational work had been done in the last nine months, which would not be visible to the public.’
      • ‘A spokesperson for the airport managers said that while he could not go into detail, some measures would be visible to the public while others would not.’
      • ‘The role is to be visible to the public and keep an eye on infection control and cleanliness, working at the frontline and leading by example to achieve the highest possible standards of care.’
      • ‘He's been a very visible public figure in this country, but he's not yet 60 years old.’
      • ‘Whenever I start working on a new design for a website, I always end up shunning the old design still visible to the public, on the basis that it's soon going to become yesterday's money.’
      • ‘If we have an allegation that is so visible to the public and the person is such a role model, then it seems to me only appropriate that we investigate that.’
      • ‘He is 16 years younger than Craig Brewster but there have been games in which it has been O'Connor who has been the more visible, prominent member of the partnership.’
      • ‘By 1824 enough states had opened the presidential election process to popular vote that there could be a visible measure of the public's opinion.’
      • ‘As visible public citizens they actively promoted support for local farmers and seasonal produce.’
      • ‘And finally, it must be asked: has Takahashi ever felt the sting of racism in her position as a high-profile visible minority media figure?’
      • ‘By contrast, urban murals appear rarely on private homes, but rather on public buildings and highly visible enclosure walls.’
      • ‘But he is easily the most visible behaviorist, based on citation frequency and surveys of influential behavioral scientists.’
      • ‘The changing of demographics on TV and in other visible places for the public has given people the perception that racism no longer exists.’
      • ‘While one of the most visible public figures in Venezuela, Ms. Machado is sparing with details about her personal life, one of comfort and privilege.’
      • ‘It is rarely visible and articulated in public, though.’
      • ‘He has linked up with a building society to offer the Lifetime Account, a with-profits pension scheme with all the workings visible to the public - or almost all.’
      • ‘Although she wasn't visible to the public the past few days, Harris said she and her staff have been working behind the scenes to help victims.’
  • 2Relating to imports or exports of tangible commodities.

    ‘the visible trade gap’
    • ‘German wages are in fact too low, they argue, for if they were not, the country would not have a visible trade surplus year in, year out.’
    • ‘Not only should this increase have shown up in visible stocks; it was not physically possible to store such a high increase in global oil inventories.’
    • ‘The music has become one of America's most visible and vital exports.’


Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin visibilis, from videre ‘to see’.