1. An opening, such as a hole, gap, or slit.
a. A usually adjustable opening in an optical instrument, such as a camera or telescope, that limits the amount of light passing through a lens or onto a mirror.
b. The diameter of such an opening, often expressed as an f-number.
c. The diameter of the objective of a telescope.
[Middle English, from Latin apertūra, from apertus, past participle of aperīre, to open; see wer-4 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.