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Origin of barometer

First recorded in 1655–65; baro- + -meter
Related formsbar·o·met·ric [bar-uh-me-trik] /ˌbær əˈmɛ trɪk/, bar·o·met·ri·cal, adjectivebar·o·met·ri·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for barometer


  1. an instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure, usually to determine altitude or weather changes
  2. anything that shows change or impending changethe barometer of social change
Derived Formsbarometric (ˌbærəˈmɛtrɪk) or barometrical, adjectivebarometrically, adverbbarometry, noun
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 barometer

1660s, from Greek baros "weight" (from barys "heavy;" see grave (adj.)) + -meter. Probably coined (and certainly popularized) by English scientist Robert Boyle (1627-1691).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

barometer in Science


  1. An instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure. Barometers are used in determining height above sea level and in forecasting the weather. The two primary types of barometers are the aneroid and the mercury barometer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

barometer in Culture


An instrument that measures atmospheric pressure.


In general, when the barometer falls in response to a drop in pressure, bad weather is approaching; when the barometer rises because of an increase in pressure, good weather will follow.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.