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or calliper

[kal-uh-per] /ˈkæl ə pər/
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.
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.
Origin of caliper
1580-90; presumably variant of caliber Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for caliper
Historical Examples
  • The design must be worked out by eye, because of the nature of the work no caliper measurements can be made for depth of cuts.

    A Course In Wood Turning Archie S. Milton and Otto K. Wohlers
  • It is a 26-inch caliper, and will caliper up to 34 inches diameter.

    Measuring Tools Unknown
  • In case the bottom surface is used, 0.150 must be deducted from the reading of the caliper.

    Measuring Tools Unknown
  • Then the legs are closed to remove the caliper, and are reset to the scribed line.

    Measuring Tools Unknown
  • The scale and object to be marked are fastened in line with one another, and the caliper bar is used from step to step.

  • The method of adjusting a spring caliper is shown at Fig. 174, H.

    Aviation Engines Victor Wilfred Pag
  • Then remove the caliper and measure the distance between the caliper points.

    Measuring Tools Unknown
  • The tailstock center is next set over by guess and a caliper tool is clamped in the toolpost.

    Turning and Boring Franklin D. Jones
  • In order to permit of ready adjustment of a spring caliper, a split nut as shown at G is sometimes used.

    Aviation Engines Victor Wilfred Pag
  • The common sizes by caliper, or diameter of the trunk, are five-, seven- or nine-sixteenths of an inch.

    The Peaches of New York U. P. Hedrick
British Dictionary definitions for caliper


the usual US spelling of calliper
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
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Word Origin and History for caliper

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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caliper in Medicine

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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caliper in Science

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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