a. A view or vista.
b. A mental view or outlook: "It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present" (Fabian Linden).
2. The appearance of objects in depth as perceived by normal binocular vision.
a. An understanding of how aspects of a subject relate to each other and to the whole: a perspective of history; a need to view the problem in the proper perspective.
b. Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view: the perspective of the displaced homemaker.
c. The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance: tried to keep my perspective throughout the crisis.
4. The technique of representing three-dimensional objects and depth relationships on a two-dimensional surface.
Of, relating to, seen, or represented in perspective.
[Middle English, science of optics (influenced by French perspective, perspective), from Medieval Latin perspectīva (ars), feminine of perspectīvus, optical, from perspectus, past participle of perspicere, to inspect : per-, per- + specere, to look; see spek- 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.