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slide rule

a device for performing mathematical calculations, consisting essentially of a ruler having a sliding piece moving along it, both marked with graduated, usually logarithmic, scales: now largely replaced by the electronic calculator.
Origin of slide rule
1655-65 for earlier sense; 1875-80 for current sense Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for slide rule
Historical Examples
  • Moriarty was muttering to himself, figuring with slide rule, pencil and paper.

    The Leech Phillips Barbee
  • He readjusted the slide rule and slid the hairline over a bit.

    Islands of Space John W Campbell
  • In 1622, Willliam Oughtred invented the slide rule for calculations.

  • Should the slide rule be placed in the hands of a boy before, or after, he has mastered the theory of logarithms?

    William Oughtred Florian Cajori
  • He sat in the big chair with his feet sticking straight out in front of him and played with a slide rule.

    What Rough Beast? Jefferson Highe
  • Mr. J: (hastily working his slide rule) Upwards of eight hundred thousand, I should say.

  • He dug out a slide rule and a pencil and pad and sat down with his back to the back of the pilot's seat, under the light.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • The use of a slide rule will make this transference to a new average very easy.

    The Science of Human Nature William Henry Pyle
  • He carried no dagger; if he had worn a dress weapon, it would probably have been a slide rule.

    Ministry of Disturbance Henry Beam Piper
  • On the white marble table were her notebook, a book on matter transmission, and her slide rule.

    Captives of the Flame Samuel R. Delany
British Dictionary definitions for slide rule

slide rule

noun (obsolete)
a mechanical calculating device consisting of two strips, one sliding along a central groove in the other, each strip graduated in two or more logarithmic scales of numbers, trigonometric functions, etc. It employs the same principles as logarithm tables
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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