caus·tic / ˈkôstik/ •
adj. 1. able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action: a caustic cleaner. ∎ fig. sarcastic in a scathing and bitter way. ∎ fig. (of an expression or sound) expressive of such sarcasm: a caustic smile.2. Physics formed by the intersection of reflected or refracted parallel rays from a curved surface.•
n. 1. a caustic substance.2. Physics a caustic surface or curve.DERIVATIVES: caus·ti·cal·ly / -ik(ə)lē/ adv.caus·tic·i·ty / kôˈstisətē/ n.
In optics, light focused by reflection from or refraction through a curved object. For example, when a magnifying glass is used to burn a piece of paper, the intense point of focused light at the paper's surface forms a caustic. Ray-tracing
algorithms in computer graphics
typically have difficulty correctly detecting and handling this phenomenon. An example might be the form of the sunlight on the bottom of a swimming pool when there are ripples on the surface of the water that focus the light into caustics.
corrosive XIV; fig. bitter XVIII. — F. caustique
or L. causticus
— Gr. kaustikós
capable of burning, f. kaustós
combustible, f. *kaf
, base of kaíein
burn; see -IC
caustic (kaw-stik) n.
an agent, such as silver nitrate
, that destroys tissue. Caustic agents may be used to remove dead skin, warts, etc.