astrolabe

[as-truh-leyb]
noun
an astronomical instrument for taking the altitude of the sun or stars and for the solution of other problems in astronomy and navigation: used by Greek astronomers from about 200 b.c. and by Arab astronomers from the Middle Ages until superseded by the sextant.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English, variant of astrolabie < Medieval Latin astrolabium < Late Greek astrolábion, Greek astrolábon (neuter of astrolábos, adj. used as noun), equivalent to ástro(n) star + lab- (variant stem of lambánein to take, seize) + -on neuter suffix

astrolabical [as-truh-lab-i-kuhl, -ley-bi-] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
astrolabe (ˈæstrəˌleɪb)
 
n
Compare sextant an instrument used by early astronomers to measure the altitude of stars and planets and also as a navigational aid. It consists of a graduated circular disc with a movable sighting device
 
[C13: via Old French and Medieval Latin from Greek, from astrolabos (adj), literally: star-taking, from astron star + lambanein to take]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

astrolabe
mid-14c., from O.Fr. astrelabe, from M.L. astrolabium, from Gk. astrolabos (organon) "star taking (instrument)," from astron "star" (see astro-) + lambanien "to take" (see analemma).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
astrolabe   (ās'trə-lāb')  Pronunciation Key 
An ancient instrument used widely in medieval times by navigators and astronomers to determine latitude, longitude, and time of day. The device employed a disk with 360 degrees marked on its circumference. Users took readings from an indicator that pivoted around the center of the suspended device like the hand of a clock. The astrolabe was replaced by the sextant in the 18th century.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The exhibition includes a reproduction of a mariner's astrolabe.
Astrolabe is clearly approaching this as a nuisance lawsuit and hoping to get an out of court settlement.
Astrolabe was used as an aid to surveying and navigation.
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