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Middle English magnifien, from Anglo-French magnifier, from Latin magnificare, from magnificus. act of praising, glorification


  • 1 a : extol, laud
b : to cause to be held in greater esteem or respect
  • 2 a : to increase in significance : intensify
b : exaggerate <magnifies every minor issue to crisis proportions>


Magnification is the process of enlarging something only in appearance, not in physical size. This enlargement is quantified by a calculated number also called "magnification". When this number is less than one it refers to a reduction in size, sometimes called "minification" or "de-magnification".

Typically magnification is related to scaling up visuals or images to be able to see more detail, increasing resolution, using optics, printing techniques, or digital processing. In all cases, the magnification of the image does not change the perspective of the image.

Examples of magnification

  • A magnifying glass which uses a positive (convex) lens to make things look bigger by allowing the user to hold them closer to his eye.
  • A telescope which uses its large objective lens to create an image of a distant object and then allows the user to examine the image closely with a smaller eyepiece lens thus making the object look larger.
  • A microscope which makes a small object appear as a much larger object at a comfortable distance for viewing. A microscope is similar in layout to a telescope except that the object being viewed is close to the objective, which is usually much smaller than the eyepiece.
  • a slide projector which projects a large image of a small slide on a screen.[1]