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[spee-dom-i-ter, spi-] /spiˈdɒm ɪ tər, spɪ-/
an instrument on an automobile or other vehicle for indicating the rate of travel in miles or kilometers per hour.
Origin of speedometer
1900-05; speed + -o- + -meter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for speedometer


a device fitted to a vehicle to measure and display the speed of travel See also mileometer
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 speedometer

1904, from speed + -meter. A Germanic-Greek hybrid and thus execrated by purists.

[T]he ancient Greeks & Romans knew what speed was, & yet no-one supposes they called it speed, whence it follows that speedo- & speedometer are barbarisms. [Fowler]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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speedometer in Science
An instrument for indicating the speed of a vehicle, typically by measuring the rate of rotation of a wheel or fan whose rate of rotation depends on the speed of the vehicle. Compare odometer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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speedometer in Technology

A pattern of lights displayed on a linear set of LEDs (today) or nixie tubes (yesterday, on ancient mainframes). The pattern is shifted left every N times the operating system goes through its main loop. A swiftly moving pattern indicates that the system is mostly idle; the speedometer slows down as the system becomes overloaded. The speedometer on Sun Microsystems hardware bounces back and forth like the eyes on one of the Cylons from the wretched "Battlestar Galactica" TV series.
Historical note: One computer, the GE 600 (later Honeywell 6000) actually had an *analog* speedometer on the front panel, calibrated in instructions executed per second.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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