- Usually calipers. an instrument for measuring thicknesses and internal or external diameters inaccessible to a scale, consisting usually of a pair of adjustable pivoted legs.
- any of various calibrated instruments for measuring thicknesses or distances between surfaces, usually having a screwed or sliding adjustable piece.Compare vernier caliper.
- thickness or depth, as of paper or a tree.
- Usually calipers. the pincers of an earwig.
- Automotive. the part of a disc-brake assembly that straddles the disc and presses the brake pads against it.
- a similar part used with a hand brake on a bicycle.
- to measure with calipers.
- to use calipers.
Origin of caliper
First recorded in 1580–90; presumably variant of caliber
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for calipers
Measure frequently with the calipers to see that the dimensions are correct.Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting
William T. Hornaday
The engraving plainly shows how calipers for this purpose are made, and how used.Measuring Tools
A full 1⁄32 inch may be left to trim off after the calipers are put together.
When the surfaces of work are to be parallel, they can be measured with calipers.
Very accurate measurements can be made with calipers, but to become expert in their use requires experience.Turning and Boring
Franklin D. Jones
- the usual US spelling of calliper
Word Origin and History for calipers
1620s, short for calliper compass (1580s), a device used to measure caliber (q.v.). Related: Calipers.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- An instrument consisting essentially of two curved hinged legs, used to measure thickness and distances.
- An instrument consisting of two curved legs connected at a hinge, used to measure thickness and distance. Often used in the plural as calipers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.