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detent

[dih-tent]
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noun Machinery.
  1. a mechanism that temporarily keeps one part in a certain position relative to that of another, and can be released by applying force to one of the parts.
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Origin of detent

1680–90; < French détente, Old French destente, derivative of destendre to relax, equivalent to des- dis-1 + tendre to stretch; see tender2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for detent

Historical Examples

  • The angle of the detent planes reduces the friction to almost nil.

    Time and Time-Tellers

    James W. Benson

  • This want undoubtedly led to the invention of the detent escapement.

  • This is connected with a clockwork and detent arrangement, which simultaneously opens a valve and actuates the lamp flame.

  • When the required number of hours have struck, the notch approaches the detent, the gravity of which allows it to fall therein.

    Time and Time-Tellers

    James W. Benson

  • The number of strokes depends on the distance which the count-wheel has to revolve before being stopped by the detent F.

    Time and Time-Tellers

    James W. Benson


British Dictionary definitions for detent

detent

noun
  1. the locking piece of a mechanism, often spring-loaded to check the movement of a wheel in one direction onlySee also pawl
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Word Origin

C17: from Old French destente, a loosening, trigger: see détente
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012