an apparatus consisting of a rotating wheel so mounted that its axis can turn freely in certain or all directions, and capable of maintaining the same absolute direction in space in spite of movements of the mountings and surrounding parts: used to maintain equilibrium, determine direction, etc.
Also called gyro.

1855–60; < French; see gyro-, -scope

gyroscopic [jahy-ruh-skop-ik] , adjective
gyroscopically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gyroscope or gyrostat (ˈdʒaɪrəˌskəʊp)
Sometimes shortened to: gyro a device containing a disc rotating on an axis that can turn freely in any direction so that the disc resists the action of an applied couple and tends to maintain the same orientation in space irrespective of the movement of the surrounding structure
gyrostat or gyrostat
gyroscopic or gyrostat
gyro'scopically or gyrostat
gyro'scopics or gyrostat

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1856, invented and named in Fr. 1852 by Foucault, from Gk. gyros "circle" + skopos "watcher," because the device demonstrates that the earth rotates.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
gyroscope   (jī'rə-skōp')  Pronunciation Key 
An instrument consisting of a heavy disk or wheel spun rapidly about an axis like a top. The angular momentum of the disk causes it to resist changes in the direction of its axis of rotation, due to the principle of conservation of angular momentum. Because of the gyroscope's tendency to remain oriented in one direction, it is used as a stabilizing device in missiles, as well as in the navigation and piloting systems of airplanes, ships, rockets, and other vehicles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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