See more synonyms for chronometer on
  1. a timepiece or timing device with a special mechanism for ensuring and adjusting its accuracy, for use in determining longitude at sea or for any purpose where very exact measurement of time is required.
  2. any timepiece, especially a wristwatch, designed for the highest accuracy.

Origin of chronometer

First recorded in 1705–15; chrono- + -meter
Related formschron·o·met·ric [kron-uh-me-trik] /ˌkrɒn əˈmɛ trɪk/, chron·o·met·ri·cal, adjectivechron·o·met·ri·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chronometer

timepiece, clock, hourglass, metronome, timer

Examples from the Web for chronometer

Historical Examples of chronometer

  • We were now questioned about our longitude, and whether we had a chronometer.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The captain kept his eyes fixed on the chronometer in his hand.

  • The chronometer on the mantel was obscured by a thick layer of dust.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Faces isn't the chronometer to steer your boat to the good ones.

  • Bishop noticed the thistle bouquet in a vase over the chronometer.


    James Causey

British Dictionary definitions for chronometer


  1. a timepiece designed to be accurate in all conditions of temperature, pressure, etc, used esp at sea
Derived Formschronometric (ˌkrɒnəˈmɛtrɪk) or chronometrical, adjectivechronometrically, adverb
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 chronometer

1735, from chrono- "time" + -meter. Related: Chronometric.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chronometer in Science


  1. An extremely accurate clock or other timepiece. Chronometers are used in scientific experiments, navigation, and astronomical observations. It was the invention of a chronometer capable of being used aboard ship, in 1762, that allowed navigators for the first time to accurately determine their longitude at sea.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.