What does pupil mean?

Definitions for pupil
ˈpyu pəlpupil

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word pupil.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. student, pupil, educateenoun

    a learner who is enrolled in an educational institution

  2. pupilnoun

    the contractile aperture in the center of the iris of the eye; resembles a large black dot

  3. schoolchild, school-age child, pupilnoun

    a young person attending school (up through senior high school)


  1. pupilnoun

    The hole in the middle of the iris of the eye, through which light passes to be focused on the retina.

  2. Etymology: From pupille, from pupillus, variant of pupulus, from pupus.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PUPILnoun

    Etymology: pupilla, Lat.

    Looking in a glass, when you shut one eye, the pupil of the other, that is open, dilateth. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist.

    Setting a candle before a child, bid him look upon it, and his pupil shall contract itself very much to exclude the light; as when after we have been some time in the dark, a bright light is suddenly brought in and set before us, till the pupils of our eyes have gradually contracted. John Ray, on the Creation.

    The uvea has a musculous power, and can dilate and contract that round hole in it, called the pupil of the eye. More.

    The rays, which enter the eye at several parts of the pupil, have several obliquities to the glasses. Isaac Newton, Opticks.

    My master sues to her, and she hath taught her suitor,
    He being her pupil, to become her tutor. William Shakespeare.

    One of my father’s servants,
    With store of tears this treason ’gan unfold,
    And said my guardian would his pupil kill. Edward Fairfax.

    If this arch-politician find in his pupils any remorse, any fear of God’s future judgments, he persuades them that God hath so great need of men’s souls, that he will accept them at any time, and upon any condition. Walter Raleigh.

    Tutors should behave reverently before their pupils. Roger L'Estrange.

    The great work of a governor is, to settle in his pupil good habits, and the principles of virtue and wisdom. John Locke.

    Tell me, thou pupil to great Pericles,
    What are the grounds
    To undertake so young so vast a care? Dryden.

    So some weak shoot, which else would poorly rise,
    Jove’s tree adopts, and lifts him to the skies;
    Through the new pupil soft’ning juices flow,
    Thrust forth the gems, and give the flow’rs to blow. Thomas Tickell.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Pupilnoun

    the aperture in the iris; the sight, apple, or black of the eye. See the Note under Eye, and Iris

  2. Pupilnoun

    a youth or scholar of either sex under the care of an instructor or tutor

  3. Pupilnoun

    a person under a guardian; a ward

  4. Pupilnoun

    a boy or a girl under the age of puberty, that is, under fourteen if a male, and under twelve if a female

  5. Etymology: [F. pupille, n. fem., L. pupilla the pupil of the eye, originally dim. of pupa a girl. See Puppet, and cf. Pupil a scholar.]


  1. Pupil

    The pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. It appears black because light rays entering the pupil are either absorbed by the tissues inside the eye directly, or absorbed after diffuse reflections within the eye that mostly miss exiting the narrow pupil. In humans the pupil is round, but other species, such as some cats, have vertical slit pupils, goats have horizontally oriented pupils, and some catfish have annular types. In optical terms, the anatomical pupil is the eye's aperture and the iris is the aperture stop. The image of the pupil as seen from outside the eye is the entrance pupil, which does not exactly correspond to the location and size of the physical pupil because it is magnified by the cornea. On the inner edge lies a prominent structure, the collarette, marking the junction of the embryonic pupillary membrane covering the embryonic pupil.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Pupil

    pū′pil, n. a little boy or girl: one under the care of a tutor: a scholar: a ward: (law) one under the age of puberty—i.e. under fourteen years for males, and twelve for females.—adj. under age.—ns. Pupilabil′ity (rare), pupilary nature: confidential character; Pū′pilage, Pū′pillage, state of being a pupil: the time during which one is a pupil; Pupilar′ity, Pupillar′ity, the time between birth and puberty.—adjs. Pū′pilary, Pū′pillary, pertaining to a pupil or ward.—Pupil teacher, one who is both a pupil and a teacher. [Fr. pupille—L. pupillus, pupilla, dims. of pupus, boy, pupa, girl.]

  2. Pupil

    pū′pil, n. the round opening in the middle of the eye through which the light passes: the apple of the eye, so called from the baby-like figures seen on it: (zool.) the central dark part of an ocellated spot.—adjs. Pū′pilary, Pū′pillary; Pū′pilate (zool.), having a central spot of another colour.—n. Pupillom′eter, an instrument for measuring the size of the pupil of an eye. [Same as above word.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Pupil

    The aperture in the iris through which light passes.

Editors Contribution

  1. pupil

    A facet of the mechanism of an eye.

    The opening in the center of the eye where light enters the eye.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 2, 2020  
  2. pupil

    A person who attends a school.

    The pupil was so focused and diligent and therefore learned easily.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 25, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. pupil

    Song lyrics by pupil -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by pupil on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Pupil

    the central mark of an ocellate spot.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pupil' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4016

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pupil' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4817

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pupil' in Nouns Frequency: #424

How to pronounce pupil?

How to say pupil in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of pupil in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of pupil in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of pupil in a Sentence

  1. Oliver Wendell Holmes:

    The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.

  2. Arthur Koestler:

    Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

  3. Clive Staples Lewis:

    What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence -- moral, cultural, social or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how 'democracy' (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient dictatorships, and by the same methods The basic proposal of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be 'undemocratic.' Children who are fit to proceed may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT. We may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when 'I'm as good as you' has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented who are they to overtop their fellows And anyway, the teachers -- or should I say nurses -- will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men.

  4. Horace Mann:

    A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.

  5. Publilius Syrus:

    To-day is the pupil of yesterday.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for pupil

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for pupil »


Find a translation for the pupil definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these pupil definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "pupil." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 8 Aug. 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/pupil>.

    Are we missing a good definition for pupil? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
    • A. cleave
    • B. abash
    • C. efface
    • D. loom

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for pupil: