Usually, calipers. an instrument for measuring thicknesses and internal or external diameters inaccessible to a scale, consisting usually of a pair of adjustable pivoted legs.
any of various calibrated instruments for measuring thicknesses or distances between surfaces, usually having a screwed or sliding adjustable piece. Compare vernier caliper.
thickness or depth, as of paper or a tree.
Usually, calipers. the pincers of an earwig.
Automotive. the part of a disc-brake assembly that straddles the disc and presses the brake pads against it. See illus. under disc brake.
a similar part used with a hand brake on a bicycle.
verb (used with object)
to measure with calipers.
verb (used without object)
to use calipers.
Also, calliper.

1580–90; presumably variant of caliber Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caliper (ˈkælɪpə)
the usual US spelling of calliper

calliper or (US) caliper (ˈkælɪpə)
1.  (often plural) Also called: calliper compasses an instrument for measuring internal or external dimensions, consisting of two steel legs hinged together
2.  med Also called: calliper splint a splint consisting of two metal rods with straps attached, for supporting or exerting tension on the leg
3.  (tr) to measure the dimensions of (an object) with callipers
[C16: variant of calibre]
caliper or (US) caliper
[C16: variant of calibre]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1620s, short for calliper compass (1580s), a device used to measure caliber (q.v.). Related: Calipers.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

caliper cal·i·per or cal·li·per (kāl'ə-pər)
An instrument consisting essentially of two curved hinged legs, used to measure thickness and distances.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
caliper   (kāl'ə-pər)  Pronunciation Key 

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An instrument consisting of two curved legs connected at a hinge, used to measure thickness and distance. Often used in the plural as calipers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Then comes the clever part: the top edge of the ruler flips back to leave the caliper-jaws exposed.
Inside caliper the inside calipers are used to measure the internal size of an object.
Outside caliper outside calipers are used to measure the external size of an object.
A divider caliper is also used to measure a distance between two points on a map.
Image for caliper
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