plumb line

noun
1.
a cord with a lead bob attached to one end, used to determine perpendicularity, the depth of water, etc. Compare plumb ( def 1 ).

Origin:
1530–40

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
plumb line
 
n
1.  a string with a metal weight at one end that, when suspended, points directly towards the earth's centre of gravity and so is used to determine verticality, the depth of water, etc
2.  another name for plumb rule

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
plumb line   (plŭm)  Pronunciation Key 
A line regarded as directed exactly toward the Earth's center of gravity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The steel tapeline must be attached firmly to a flat surface with clear strapping tape, in a straight, plumb line.
Mark a plumb line down the center of one end and a horizontal line perpendicular to it.
Think of it as a plumb line from the ears to the knees.
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