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bring (something) into focus
1. To make an adjustment so that a viewed object can be seen clearly, as with instruments that use lenses, or by digital or other means on a screen. You need to bring the vase of flowers into focus so that it doesn't come out blurry in the pictures. The eye doctor adjusted his machine and brought the eye chart into focus for me. Can you bring the footage into focus so we can see the perpetrator's face?
2. To cause something to be better or more clearly understood or seen in a new perspective. Her passionate speech about the environment really brought the importance of conservation efforts into focus.
focus on (someone or something)
1. To direct and adjust the lens of something so that one can see through it clearly. I can't seem to focus the camera on the tree—it's still all blurry.
2. To center on or be dedicated to something in particular. Have you decided which topics the meeting will focus on?
3. To cause someone or something to center on or be dedicated to something in particular. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "focus" and "on." I think we need still need to focus our efforts on fundraising right now.
out of focus
1. Not able to be seen with clear, sharp definition. Someone go tell them that the film is out of focus! I don't need my glasses all the time, but everything is slightly out of focus without them.
2. Not able to produce a clear, sharp image. Who's been messing with my telescope? It's completely out of focus! I've tried adjusting it over and over again, but the projector is still out of focus.
3. Not clearly perceived, understood, or explained. Let's try to bring the discussion back to the topic at hand, because I think things are getting out of focus. As the professor continued rambling on, the point of her lecture started to get out of focus.
bring something into focus
1. Lit. to make something seen through lenses sharply visible. I adjusted the binoculars until I brought the bird sharply into focus. The flowers were brought into focus by adjusting the controls.
2. Fig. to make something clear and understandable. I think we will have a better discussion of the problem if you will say a few words to bring it more sharply into focus. Please try to bring your major point into focus earlier in the essay.
focus on someone or something
1. Lit. to aim and adjust a lens (including the lens in the eye) onto someone or something. I focused on the flower and pressed the shutter release. I focused on Fred and snapped just as he moved.
2. Fig. to dwell on the subject of someone or something. Let's focus on the question of the electric bill, if you don't mind. Let us focus on Fred and discuss his progress.
focus something on someone or something
1. Lit. to aim a lens at someone or something and adjust the lens for clarity. I focused the binoculars on the bird and stood there in awe at its beauty. He focused the camera on Jane and snapped the shutter.
2. Fig. to direct attention to someone or something. Could we please focus the discussion on the matter at hand for a few moments? Let's focus our attention on Tom and discuss his achievements so far.
1. Lit. [of an image] seen clearly and sharply. (*Typically: be ~; come [into] ~; get [into] ~; get something [into] ~.) I have the slide in focus and can see the bacteria clearly.
2. Lit. [for optics, such as lenses, or an optical device, such as a microscope] to be aligned to allow something to be seen clearly and sharply. I've adjusted the telescope; Mars is now in focus.
3. Fig. [of problems, solutions, appraisals of people or things] perceived or understood clearly. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~; get something [into] ~.) Now that things are in focus, I feel better about the world.
See also: focus
*out of focus
blurred or fuzzy; seen indistinctly. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; go ~.) What I saw through the binoculars was sort of out of focus. The scene was out of focus.
1. To orient or adjust something toward some particular point or thing: I focused the camera on the car across the street.
2. To direct someone or something at a particular point or purpose: The company director wanted to focus the staff's attention on finding a solution to the problem.
3. To be directed at some particular point or purpose: The manager focused on the sales force's performance.