[al-tim-i-ter, al-tuh-mee-ter]


a sensitive aneroid barometer that is graduated and calibrated, used chiefly in aircraft for finding distance above sea level, terrain, or some other reference point by a comparison of air pressures.
any device used for the same purpose that operates by some other means, as by radio waves.

Origin of altimeter

First recorded in 1820–30; alti- + -meter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for altimeter

Contemporary Examples of altimeter

Historical Examples of altimeter

  • Danny O'Rourke was watching his altimeter sharply as he neared the ground.

    The Hammer of Thor

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • Smithy glanced past him at the lighted instruments and found the altimeter.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • A glance at his altimeter showed a scant eighteen hundred now.

    Spawn of the Comet

    Harold Thompson Rich

  • That was the altimeter, which registered twenty-five thousand feet.

  • Already it was very cold, though my altimeter only marked nine thousand.

    Danger! and Other Stories

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for altimeter



an instrument that indicates height above sea level, esp one based on an aneroid barometer and fitted to an aircraft
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

Word Origin and History for altimeter

1918, from Modern Latin altimeter, from alti- "high" (from Latin altus; see old) + -meter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

altimeter in Science



An instrument that measures and indicates the height above sea level at which an object, such as an airplane, is located.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.