Printable Version
Pronunciation: prez-bi-ah-pik, prez-bi-o-pik Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. (Medicine) Far-sighted, suffering a loss or deterioration of near vision, usually caused by advancing age; the antonym of myopic "short-sighted", suffering a loss of distant vision. 2. Able to see things in the distance or the future clearly.

Notes: The today's word and its antonym are derived from the nouns presbyopia and myopia, respectively. Try to remember that a myopic person is one who can't see beyond his own nose, while a presbyopic person has perfect vision as far as the eye can see. A presbyopic person is a presbyope, not at all a pretty appellation, but one we have to deal with. Don't be tricked into inserting a T in the suffix -opic. Though this word is related to optics, it is spelled and pronounced presbyopic.

In Play: Presbyopic people show more interest in the long term than the short: "The world is waiting for presbyopic president who can navigate a sea of congressional myopia." Metaphorical presbyopia should be a qualification for any leader: "More presbyopic executives in the financial institutions of the world would have prevented the 2008 economic collapse."

Word History: This Good Word comes from a Greek compound composed of presbys "old, old man" + opia "vision", made up of ops "face, eye" + -ic, an adjective suffix. Presbys is a combination of pres- "going before" + bous "cow", suggesting it originally referred to a cowherd. This word also underlies presbyter "old man", or an elder in a presbytery "a council of elders," the original core of the Presbyterian Church. The word ops had an alternate form, opt-, used in derivations and compounds, such as the ones we borrowed for optics and optometry. (We are happy for the presbyopia of Suzanne Russell in seeing that we would be highly interested in today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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