[ kraws-staf, -stahf, kros- ]

noun,plural cross-staffs, cross-staves.Astronomy.
  1. an instrument for measuring the angle of elevation of heavenly bodies, consisting of a calibrated staff with another shorter staff perpendicular to and sliding on it.

Origin of cross-staff

1400–50, for an earlier sense; late Middle English

Words Nearby cross-staff Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cross-staff in a sentence

  • Iacobs staffean instrument formerly used for measuring the altitude of the sun; a cross-staff.

    The Fatal Dowry | Philip Massinger
  • Above, it has the small arc of the Davis quadrant with the sliding rod of the cross-staff below.

  • But some kind of a dratted cross-current ketched me and I'm sailin' out to sea, I finds, without compass or cross-staff.

    Blackbeard: Buccaneer | Ralph D. Paine
  • He rubbed his eyes, looked again, adjusting his observation by a cross-staff which had been placed so as to bear upon the point.

    The Antiquary, Complete | Sir Walter Scott
  • A man upon the frame-work controls this wheel, guided by a sight on the frame, and a cross-staff at the end of the field.

    Farm drainage | Henry Flagg French