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magnetic needle

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.
Origin of magnetic needle
First recorded in 1840-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for magnetic needle
Historical Examples
  • This point is noted for the singular agitation of the magnetic needle.

    Old Mackinaw W. P. Strickland.
  • It is added, that the girl produced no effect on the magnetic needle.

  • Why, we enquire, does the magnetic needle set north and south?

  • The length of the magnetic needle is 12 inches, and its axis is made of gold and copper.

    Lost Diaries Maurice Baring
  • The direction taken by a magnetic needle is parallel to the magnetic meridian.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • It consists of a magnetic needle mounted at the center of a coil of wire.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • magnetic needle tells you what's going on in the sun, the stars.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • So did the discovery of the magnetic needle and the new world.

  • It is, or seems to be, a consciousness of direction that is as unerring as the magnetic needle.

    Ways of Nature John Burroughs
  • Inclination of magnetic needle probably connected with, II, 19.

    Farthest North Fridtjof Nansen
British Dictionary definitions for magnetic needle

magnetic needle

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