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[suhn-dahy-uh l, -dahyl] /ˈsʌnˌdaɪ əl, -ˌdaɪl/
an instrument that indicates the time of day by means of the position, on a graduated plate or surface, of the shadow of the gnomon as it is cast by the sun.
Origin of sundial
First recorded in 1570-80; sun + dial Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sundial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A white figure had turned the road by the sundial, and was coming on with the step of a greyhound.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Past the sundial ran the girl, and around to the rear of the house.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock
  • You dwell upon the sundial; you mention for a second time the Adams fireplace.

    They and I Jerome K. Jerome
  • At the head of the walk was a sundial, and at the further end a fountain.

    Peak's Island Ford Paul
  • Moreover, a sundial, to be of practical value, had to be kept steady.

  • You'll get no hasty signatures to a petition in this city—we remember the sundial!

  • I remember a rose-garden with a sundial in the middle of it.

    A Padre in France George A. Birmingham
  • Clepsydræ or clocks are of later date, and no more than a sundial are they portable.

    The Astronomy of the Bible E. Walter Maunder
  • "I thought of putting her sundial there, her noonday cannon," said Raul.

    When the Owl Cries Paul Bartlett
British Dictionary definitions for sundial


a device indicating the time during the hours of sunlight by means of a stationary arm (the gnomon) that casts a shadow onto a plate or surface marked in hours
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 sundial

1590s, from sun (n.) + dial (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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