mirror

Definitions

General English

Astronomy

  • Device for reflecting light or other radiation. Curved mirrors can be made to form images, a principle exploited by Newton to create the first reflecting telescope and which is now applied in the construction of all large telescopes. Since his time, the ability to grind large mirrors accurately to within a small fraction of the wavelength of light has increased, and with it the ability to make large mirrors of use in astronomy. There is controversy over whether to make larger single mirrors for major telescopes or to concentrate on multiple-mirror types where the light from a number of smaller mirrors is added together.

Cars & Driving

  • noun car mirrors can be either interior or exterior.

Computing

  • verb to create an identical copy of something
  • verb to duplicate all disk operations onto a second disk drive that can be used if the first breaks down

Electronics

  • A surface that reflects light. Such a surface is usually smooth, highly polished, and it may consist, for instance, of a thin layer of silver or aluminum on glass. Mirrors have many applications, including their use in lasers, beam splitters, microscopes, TV cameras, and digital mi-cromirror devices. Also called reflector (2).
  • To duplicate, replicate, or reflect, as accomplished, for instance, by a current mirror or an electromagnetic mirror.

Media Studies

  • verb to maintain an exact copy of a program, data, or website, usually on another file server

Origin & History of “mirror”

Mirror belongs to a small family of English words which illustrate how a Latin term originally signifying ‘wonder at’ weakened (presumably via ‘stare in wonder at’) to ‘look at’. Etymologically, a mirror is something you ‘look at’ yourself in. The word comes via Old French mirour from vulgar Latin *mīrātōrium, a derivative of *mirāre ‘look at’. this was closely related to classical Latin mīrārī ‘wonder at’ (a derivative of mīrus ‘wonderful’), which passed into Old French as mirer ‘look at’, source of English mirage (19th c.). Based on mīrārī were Latin mīrābilis ‘wonderful’ (source of English marvel (13th c.)) and mīrāculum ‘something to be wondered at’ (source of English miracle (12th c.)).
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