AskDefine | Define focus

Dictionary Definition



1 the concentration of attention or energy on something; "the focus of activity shifted to molecular biology"; "he had no direction in his life" [syn: focusing, focussing, direction, centering]
2 maximum clarity or distinctness of an image rendered by an optical system; "in focus"; "out of focus"
3 maximum clarity or distinctness of an idea; "the controversy brought clearly into focus an important difference of opinion"
4 a central point or locus of an infection in an organism; "the focus of infection" [syn: focal point, nidus]
5 special emphasis attached to something; "the stress was more on accuracy than on speed" [syn: stress]
6 a point of convergence of light (or other radiation) or a point from which it diverges [syn: focal point]
7 a fixed reference point on the concave side of a conic section


1 direct one's attention on something; "Please focus on your studies and not on your hobbies" [syn: concentrate, center, centre, pore, rivet]
2 cause to converge on or toward a central point; "Focus the light on this image" [ant: blur]
3 bring into focus or alignment; to converge or cause to converge; of ideas or emotions [syn: concenter, concentre, focalize, focalise]
4 become focussed or come into focus; "The light focused" [syn: focalize, focalise] [ant: blur]
5 put (an image) into focus; "Please focus the image; we cannot enjoy the movie" [syn: focalize, focalise, sharpen] [ant: blur] [also: foci (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



focus, of unknown origin.



  1. (optics) a point at which reflected or refracted rays of light converge.
    The heat of sunlight at the focus of a magnifying glass can easily set dry leaves on fire.
  2. a point of a conic at which rays reflected from a curve or surface converge.
  3. (photography, cinematography) The fact of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
    Unfortunately, the license plate is out of focus in this image.
  4. (photography, cinematography) The quality of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
    During this scene, the boy’s face shifts subtly from soft focus into sharp focus.
  5. concentration of attention.
    I believe I can bring the high degree of focus required for this important job.
  6. the exact point of where an earthquake occurs, in three dimensions.
    The earthquake's focus was at exactly 37 degrees north, 18 degrees south, seventy five meters below the ground.


in optics
in mathematics
fact of the convergence of light on the photographic medium
  • Danish: fokus
  • Dutch: brandpunt
  • German: Fokus
  • Spanish: enfoque
quality of the convergence of light on the photographic medium
concentration of attention
an exact point of where an earthquake occurs
  • Japanese: 震源
  • Spanish: hipocentro


  1. To cause (rays of light, etc) to converge at a single point.
  2. To adjust (a lens, an optical instrument) in order to position an image with respect to the focal plane.
    You'll need to focus the microscope carefully in order to capture the full detail of this surface.
  3. (followed by on or upon) To concentrate one's attention.
    Focus on passing the test.
  4. To make (a liquid) less diluted.
  5. To concentrate one’s attention.
    If you're going to beat your competitors, you need to focus.

Related terms


cause (rays of light, etc) to converge at a single point
  • French: focaliser
  • Japanese: 絞る
  • Portuguese: focalizar
  • Spanish: enfocar
to adjust (a lens, an optical instrument)
transitive: to concentrate one's attention
make (a liquid) less diluted
intransitive: to concentrate one's attention



focus, focī m (Diminutive: foculus)


Second declension (2).

Related terms


Extensive Definition

Focus may refer to:
In science, mathematics or computing:
  • Focus (optics), a point toward which light rays are made to converge
    • Autofocus, a feature of some optical systems that obtains and maintains correct focus on a target
    • Focal length, a measure of how strongly a lens focuses or diverges light
  • Focus (earthquake), an earthquake's underground point of origin or hypocenter
  • Focus (geometry), a special point used in describing conic sections
  • Focus (computing), a component of the graphical user interface which is currently selected
  • Focus (grammar), a phenomenon in Austronesian languages
  • Focusing, an activity related to psychotherapy
In music:
In writing:
Other meanings:
Company and Organization names:
FOCUS may mean:

See also

focus in Bulgarian: Фокус
focus in German: Focus (Begriffsklärung)
focus in Spanish: Foco
focus in French: Foyer
focus in Ido: Foko
focus in Italian: Focus
focus in Hebrew: מוקד
focus in Lithuanian: Fokusas
focus in Dutch: Focus
focus in Japanese: フォーカス
focus in Norwegian: Fokus
focus in Portuguese: Focus
focus in Romanian: Focar (dezambiguizare)
focus in Russian: Фокус
focus in Simple English: Focus
focus in Finnish: Focus
focus in Ukrainian: Фокус

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adductor, approach, asymptote, attractant, attrahent, axiom, blurred, blurry, bottleneck, bring into focus, center, center of attraction, center of consciousness, center of interest, clear, collision course, concenter, concentralization, concentralize, concentrate, concentration, concourse, concurrence, confluence, conflux, congress, converge, convergence, converging, core, crossing, cynosure, distinct, elixir, essence, essential, fix, fixate, flower, focal point, focalization, focalize, focus of attention, fundamental, funnel, fuzzy, gist, gravamen, heart, hub, hypostasis, in focus, indistinct, inner essence, kernel, lodestar, lure, magnet, marrow, meat, meet, meeting, mutual approach, narrowing gap, nave, nerve, nub, nucleus, nuts and bolts, out of focus, pinpoint, pith, point of convergence, polestar, postulate, prime focus, principle, put, quid, quiddity, quintessence, radius, rivet, sap, soul, spirit, spokes, spotlight, stuff, substance, tangent, target, the nitty-gritty, unclear, woolly, zero in
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