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magnetic needle

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noun
  1. a slender magnetized steel rod that, when adjusted to swing in a horizontal plane, as in a compass, indicates the direction of the earth's magnetic fields or the approximate position of north and south.
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Origin of magnetic needle

First recorded in 1840–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for magnetic needle

Historical Examples

  • Theory of the diurnal variation of the magnetic-needle, illustrated by experiments.

    Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and the Arts, July-December, 1827

    Various

  • FLY, or Compass-card, placed on the magnetic-needle and supported by a pin, whereon it turns freely.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth


British Dictionary definitions for magnetic needle

magnetic needle

noun
  1. a slender magnetized rod used in certain instruments, such as the magnetic compass, for indicating the direction of a magnetic field
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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