- 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and navigation: used by Greek astronomers from about 200 b.c. and by Arab astronomers from the Middle Ages until superseded by the sextant.
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for astrolabe
The rest of the voyage of the Astrolabe was in well-known waters.
There were also in this library an astrolabe, and a sphere with the signs of the Zodiac.The Care of Books
John Willis Clark
The Astrolabe had anchored in the same depth, and upon a similar bottom.
Astrolabe: a machine used at sea to measure the distances of stars.Chaucer for Children
Mrs. H. R. Haweis
See Chaucer's own treatise on The Astrolabe, which he describes.
- 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
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
Word Origin and History for astrolabe
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.
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