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plumb line

a cord with a lead bob attached to one end, used to determine perpendicularity, the depth of water, etc.
Compare plumb (def 1).
Origin of plumb line
First recorded in 1530-40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for plumb line
Historical Examples
  • A plumb line is a line perpendicular to the horizon, hanging (through the air).

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
  • It will be just like 'Specs,' if it is a still night, to drop a plumb line and check himself.

    L. P. M. J. Stewart Barney
  • One boy stands at Y and another at X, each with a plumb line.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • The corpse no longer stirred; the chain was as motionless as a plumb line.

    The Man Who Laughs

    Victor Hugo
  • The mirror is always at hand, and a paper protractor on a piece of board, with a plumb line attached, serves as a quadrant.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • A plumb line that is a little too long to reach the floor will, if swung so as just to touch the floor, describe a circle.

    The Teaching of Geometry David Eugene Smith
  • The Zenith is that point of the sky, overhead, toward which a plumb line points.

    A Text-Book of Astronomy George C. Comstock
  • Your rocket leads shot up, and the plumb line dropped one hundred feet.

    The Sky Trap Frank Belknap Long
  • Supports of dressed stone truly fixed with the plumb line are perfectly stable of themselves.

  • Holding a plumb line at 350 miles per hour, she dropped upon the battle wagon below.

    A Yankee Flier with the R.A.F. Rutherford G. Montgomery
British Dictionary definitions for plumb line

plumb line

a string with a metal weight at one end that, when suspended, points directly towards the earth's centre of gravity and so is used to determine verticality, the depth of water, etc
another name for plumb rule
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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plumb line in Science
plumb line
A line regarded as directed exactly toward the Earth's center of gravity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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