• synonyms


  1. Also vernier scale. a small, movable, graduated scale running parallel to the fixed graduated scale of a sextant, theodolite, barometer, etc., and used for measuring a fractional part of one of the divisions of the fixed scale.
  2. Machinery. an auxiliary device for giving a piece of apparatus a higher adjustment accuracy.
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  1. equipped with a vernier: a vernier barometer.
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Origin of vernier

First recorded in 1760–70; named after P. Vernier


[vur-nee-er; French ver-nyey]
  1. Pierre [pyer] /pyɛr/, 1580–1637, French mathematician and inventor.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vernier

Historical Examples of vernier

  • Major Vernier, of Pulaski's legion, and twenty-five men, were killed.

    A Sketch of the Life of Brig. Gen. Francis Marion

    William Dobein James

  • I say, have you read that article of Vernier's about yourself?

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • The prism table can be clamped to any part of the vernier plate.

  • The circle is protected but only one vernier reading to 30 sec.

  • With rifled guns a vernier, reading the minutes, is generally added.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for vernier


  1. a small movable scale running parallel to the main graduated scale in certain measuring instruments, such as theodolites, used to obtain a fractional reading of one of the divisions on the main scale
  2. an auxiliary device for making a fine adjustment to an instrument, usually by means of a fine screw thread
  3. (modifier) relating to or fitted with a verniera vernier scale; a vernier barometer
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Word Origin for vernier

C18: named after Paul Vernier (1580–1637), French mathematician, who described the scale
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 vernier


1766, device for making precise measurements, from name of inventor, French mathematician Paul Vernier (1580-1637), who described it in a tract published 1631.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vernier in Science


  1. French mathematician and maker of scientific instruments, known especially for his invention of an auxiliary scale (named after him) used for obtaining a highly precise reading of a subdivision of an ordinary scale.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.