Why are Binoculars Called Bins? Exploring the Origins!

Spread the love

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission for purchases made through the links. Learn More

By seeing some peeps calling binoculars bins, you would be utterly surprised. Bins is the word that is used for storing objects. Isn’t it confusing when some use something which is not even close to the actual name of the object? But don’t worry as we have got your back.

Why are binoculars called bins? Although you won’t hear the words ‘bins’’ more often, still, their usage can be frustrating if you don’t know the meanings. Especially if you’re new to optics; either a student of optics or an outdoor enthusiast knows the bins.

Bin is a Latin word that was used in the past for binoculars. It is derived from two words “bino + oculus,” and the actual meaning of the word bins is two-eyed or two by two.  Many people in the past used bins because binoculars are slightly tough to pronounce. However, it is no more common than it was in the past.

It was a brief answer and I have a lot more information about the names of binoculars. Stay connected so that you get answers with complete details.

Related Article: Why are Binoculars Filled with Nitrogen Gas?

History of the word ‘‘Binoculars’’

Look, binoculars have been used for centuries now and they have seen an evolution in many ways. The first binoculars were invented back in the 1800s. At that time, people had no idea what to call these newly invented devices. At that point, people were familiar with the telescope and had a general understanding of its working.

As the telescope name was common, so the inventor of binoculars started calling the newly invented product binocular microscopes. The reason was that binos had two barrels, unlike telescopes which had only one barrel. The microscope was something else as it was used for seeing very small objects of a few millimeters so the name of the binocular microscope did suit binoculars.

So, people started omitting the word microscope and they started to be known as binocular which was well accepted as it was not confusing. The time came when there was no confusion left among the users and binocular was the standard name. 

Also Read: Can You Transfer the Warranty of Binoculars?

Origin of the word ‘‘bins’’

After a few years, people who were not native English speakers started calling binoculars ‘bins’’. The reason behind this is that non-native English users found it hard to pronounce binoculars. Pronunciation was the major reason that forced people to use the short name of bins instead of binoculars.

As the binocular was hard to pronounce, while the bin was relatively easier to pronounce and people found it cool. In no time, the word ‘bin’ became popular among users as the nickname for binoculars. Bin is a Latin word that is derived from the “bino + oculus,” which means two-eyed or two-by-two. In simple words, bino and oculus combine meat as something that has two eyes. As the binoculars had two eyes so bins suited them.

Are Binoculars Still Called Bins?

In previous times, English was the least understood and people found it very difficult to pronounce. But things have changed now and this language has become an internal language. Almost everyone regardless of country and region knows and uses English to some extent. So, pronunciation is no longer a problem.

As the English issue has been resolved, people also have stopped calling short names to binoculars and almost every outdoor activity uses the word binoculars instead of bins or binos. So, the answer is quite clear and people don’t use the word binos for binoculars anymore.

What are some other terms or names for binoculars?

As said earlier, binoculars have seen the evolution period in many ways. Not only in terms of technology their names also changed over time. In the past, many other names were used for binoculars and the most popular of them is bins. Below is a list of some alternative names that people have used in the past.

  • Binos
  • Binocs
  • Glasses
  • Field glasses
  • Double opera glasses

The name Field Glass’’ was more common and famous among the hunters. The reason behind this name was that the binoculars were used by the hunters to get a wider field of view with optimal zooming power. As they were good for giving wider and more extended FOV, so they were known as field glasses. 

Meaning of bins In Cockney Rhyming

In Cockney rhyming slang, the word “bins” is short for “binoculars.” This term is derived from the phrase “binocular glasses,” which was shortened to “bins.” To be more accurate, the word bins in cockney rhyming is used to represent anything that has characteristics of glasses i-e spectacles, and receptacles. 

Just a Small Reminder: Cockney rhyming slang is a form of English slang that originated in the East End of London, and it involves replacing a word with a phrase that rhymes with it. This rhyming was more famous in the past when people used to call binoculars ‘bins’.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of the term “binoculars”?

The binocular microscope was the first name that was initially used by the inventor. After some time, the microscope was more specific about those devices that used to see very small microorganisms and people omitted the word microscope and binoculars became common among people.

Is the term “binoculars” derived from the word “bin”?

No, the term is not derived from bins. In fact, bins were used as short names for binoculars by those people who had issues with pronunciation. It won’t be wrong that bins are derived from binoculars.

Are all types of binoculars called “bins”?

In the past, all the binoculars were known as bins but not anymore. The word bins is not used now by optics users.


Binoculars are those tools that have undergone many evolution periods in terms of both their name and used technologies. People initially used to call different other names that are not being used nowadays. The world has gotten more information and people consider it a kind of shame in using the wrong name for the binoculars which is actually right. Binoculars are actual and we all should learn to pronounce them rightly.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment