[ as-truh-leyb ]
/ ˈæs trəˌleɪb /


an astronomical instrument for taking the altitude of the sun or stars and for the solution of other problems in astronomy and navigation: used by Greek astronomers from about 200 b.c. and by Arab astronomers from the Middle Ages until superseded by the sextant.

Nearby words

  1. astrograph,
  2. astrographic,
  3. astrography,
  4. astroid,
  5. astrol.,
  6. astrologer,
  7. astrological,
  8. astrologically,
  9. astrologous,
  10. astrology

Origin of astrolabe

1325–75; Middle English, variant of astrolabie < Medieval Latin astrolabium < Late Greek astrolábion, Greek astrolábon (neuter of astrolábos, adj. used as noun), equivalent to ástro(n) star + lab- (variant stem of lambánein to take, seize) + -on neuter suffix

Related formsas·tro·lab·i·cal [as-truh-lab-i-kuh l, -ley-bi-] /ˌæs trəˈlæb ɪ kəl, -ˈleɪ bɪ-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for astrolabe

British Dictionary definitions for astrolabe


/ (ˈæstrəˌleɪb) /


an instrument used by early astronomers to measure the altitude of stars and planets and also as a navigational aid. It consists of a graduated circular disc with a movable sighting deviceCompare sextant

Word Origin for astrolabe

C13: via Old French and Medieval Latin from Greek, from astrolabos (adj), literally: star-taking, from astron star + lambanein to take

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

Science definitions for astrolabe


[ ăstrə-lāb′ ]

An ancient instrument used widely in medieval times by navigators and astronomers to determine latitude, longitude, and time of day. The device employed a disk with 360 degrees marked on its circumference. Users took readings from an indicator that pivoted around the center of the suspended device like the hand of a clock. The astrolabe was replaced by the sextant in the 18th century.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.