panopticon


panopticon

noun

  1. a building, as a prison, hospital, library, or the like, so arranged that all parts of the interior are visible from a single point.

n.1768, a type of optical instrument or telescope, from Greek pan “all” (see pan-) + optikon, neuter of optikos “of or for sight” (see optic). Later the name of a type of prison designed by Bentham (1791) in which wardens had a constant view of all inmates, and “a showroom” (1850).

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