vernier scale

vernier

[vur-nee-er]
noun
1.
Also, vernier scale. a small, movable, graduated scale running parallel to the fixed graduated scale of a sextant, theodolite, barometer, etc., and used for measuring a fractional part of one of the divisions of the fixed scale. See illus. under sextant.
2.
Machinery. an auxiliary device for giving a piece of apparatus a higher adjustment accuracy.
adjective
3.
equipped with a vernier: a vernier barometer.

Origin:
1760–70; named after P. Vernier

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
vernier (ˈvɜːnɪə)
 
n
1.  a small movable scale running parallel to the main graduated scale in certain measuring instruments, such as theodolites, used to obtain a fractional reading of one of the divisions on the main scale
2.  an auxiliary device for making a fine adjustment to an instrument, usually by means of a fine screw thread
3.  (modifier) relating to or fitted with a vernier: a vernier scale; a vernier barometer
 
[C18: named after Paul Vernier (1580--1637), French mathematician, who described the scale]

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

vernier
1766, device for making precise measurements, from name of inventor, Fr. mathematician Paul Vernier (1580-1637), who described it in a tract published 1631.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Vernier   (věr-nyā')  Pronunciation Key 
French mathematician and maker of scientific instruments, known especially for his invention of an auxiliary scale (named after him) used for obtaining a highly precise reading of a subdivision of an ordinary scale.
vernier scale  
A small, movable auxiliary graduated scale attached parallel to a main graduated scale and calibrated to indicate fractional parts of the subdivisions of the larger scale. Vernier scales are used on certain precision instruments to increase accuracy in measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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