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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. 2016.
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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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Word Origin and History for slide-rule

also slide rule, mathematical calculating tool, 1838, from slide (v.) + rule (n.). So called for its method of operation. Earlier sliding-rule (1660s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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