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escapement

[ih-skeyp-muh nt] /ɪˈskeɪp mənt/
noun
1.
Horology. the portion of a watch or clock that measures beats and controls the speed of the going train.
2.
a mechanism for regulating the motion of a typewriter carriage, consisting of pawls and a toothed wheel or rack.
3.
a mechanism in a piano that causes a hammer to fall back into rest position immediately after striking a string.
4.
an act of escaping.
5.
Archaic. a way of escape; outlet.
Origin
1730-1740
1730-40; escape + -ment (calque of French échappement
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for escapement
  • escapement is the number of fish allowed to escape the fishery and spawn.
  • Specifically, a huge increase in the risks of escapement.
  • Available data indicate escapement goals will not be met.
British Dictionary definitions for escapement

escapement

/ɪˈskeɪpmənt/
noun
1.
(horology) a mechanism consisting of an escape wheel and anchor, used in timepieces to provide periodic impulses to the pendulum or balance
2.
any similar mechanism that regulates movement, usually consisting of toothed wheels engaged by rocking levers
3.
(in a piano) the mechanism that allows the hammer to clear the string after striking, so that the string can vibrate
4.
an overflow channel
5.
(rare) an act or means of escaping
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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Encyclopedia Article for escapement

in mechanics, a device that permits controlled motion, usually in steps. In a watch or clock, it is the mechanism that controls the transfer of energy from the power source to the counting mechanism. The classic form for a timepiece, which made the mechanical clock possible, was the verge escapement, probably invented in 13th-century Europe. This consists of a crown wheel (i.e., a gearwheel shaped like a crown) driven by a weight and repeatedly checked by the action of a pair of metal pallets that alternately stop successive teeth. The pallets are mounted on a vertical shaft (the verge), and their speed of oscillating back and forth is controlled by a crossbar at the top (the foliot) with two small weights; moving the weights outward from the shaft slows the oscillations. The anchor escapement, an improvement invented in England in the 17th century, works with a pendulum and allows much smaller arcs of swing than the verge escapement with a pendulum. In the anchor escapement the pallets are in the shape of an inverted anchor, lying in the same plane as the wheel. Many improvements have since been made in escapements, most significantly the concept of detachment, where the escapement, while providing energy for the oscillator, is as detached from it as possible to allow the oscillator to swing as freely as possible

Learn more about escapement with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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