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[jahy-ruh-skohp] /ˈdʒaɪ rəˌskoʊp/
an apparatus consisting of a rotating wheel so mounted that its axis can turn freely in certain or all directions, and capable of maintaining the same absolute direction in space in spite of movements of the mountings and surrounding parts: used to maintain equilibrium, determine direction, etc.
Also called gyro.
Origin of gyroscope
From French, dating back to 1855-60; See origin at gyro-, -scope
Related forms
[jahy-ruh-skop-ik] /ˌdʒaɪ rəˈskɒp ɪk/ (Show IPA),
gyroscopically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for gyroscope


a device containing a disc rotating on an axis that can turn freely in any direction so that the disc resists the action of an applied couple and tends to maintain the same orientation in space irrespective of the movement of the surrounding structure Sometimes shortened to gyro
Derived Forms
gyroscopic (ˌdʒaɪrəˈskɒpɪk) adjective
gyroscopically, adverb
gyroscopics, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for gyroscope

heavy rotating wheel with an axis free to turn in any direction, 1856, invented and named in French 1852 by Foucault, from Greek gyros "circle" (see gyre) + skopos "watcher" (see scope (n.1)), because the device demonstrates that the earth rotates.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gyroscope in Science
An instrument consisting of a heavy disk or wheel spun rapidly about an axis like a top. The angular momentum of the disk causes it to resist changes in the direction of its axis of rotation, due to the principle of conservation of angular momentum. Because of the gyroscope's tendency to remain oriented in one direction, it is used as a stabilizing device in missiles, as well as in the navigation and piloting systems of airplanes, ships, rockets, and other vehicles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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