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

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
Previous studies in which investigators used calipers to measure body symmetry were therefore highly susceptible to human error.
Typically forensic scientists measure remains with sliding rulers called calipers.
To get the pitch, simply use the calipers to measure the distance from across from one thread to the next.
Zero the calipers before starting the calibration procedures.
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