Surveying. a precision instrument having a telescopic sight for establishing horizontal and sometimes vertical angles.Compare transit(def 6).

Nearby words

  1. theocrasy,
  2. theocrat,
  3. theocratic,
  4. theocritus,
  5. theodicy,
  6. theodora,
  7. theodorakis,
  8. theodore,
  9. theodore i,
  10. theodore ii

Origin of theodolite

First recorded in 1565–75, theodolite is from the New Latin word theodolitus < ?

Related formsthe·od·o·lit·ic [thee-od-l-it-ik] /θiˌɒd lˈɪt ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for theodolite

British Dictionary definitions for theodolite



a surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles, consisting of a small tripod-mounted telescope that is free to move in both the horizontal and vertical planesAlso called (in the US and Canada): transit
Derived Formstheodolitic (θɪˌɒdəˈlɪtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for theodolite

C16: from New Latin theodolitus, of uncertain origin

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 theodolite



1570s, of unknown origin (see OED for discussion).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for theodolite



An optical instrument used to measure angles in surveying, meteorology, and navigation. In meteorology, it is used to track the motion of a weather balloon by measuring its elevation and azimuth angle. The earliest theodolite consisted of a small mounted telescope that rotated horizontally and vertically; modern versions are sophisticated computerized devices, capable of tracking weather balloons, airplanes, and other moving objects, at distances of up to 20,000 m (65,600 ft).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.