Compasses

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Compasses'

Compasses Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Compasses \Com"pass*es\, n., pl. An instrument for describing circles, measuring figures, etc., consisting of two, or (rarely) more, pointed branches, or legs, usually joined at the top by a rivet on which they move. Note: The compasses for drawing circles have adjustable pen points, pencil points, etc.; those used for measuring without adjustable points are generally called dividers. See Dividers. Bow compasses. See Bow-compass. Caliber compasses, Caliper compasses. See Calipers. Proportional, Triangular, etc., compasses. See under Proportional, etc.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Compasses'


A compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the Earth's magnetic poles. It consists of a magnetized pointer (usually marked on the North end) free to align itself with Earth's magnetic field. The compass greatly improved the safety and efficiency of travel, especially ocean travel. A compass can be used to calculate heading, used with a sextant to calculate latitude, and with a marine chronometer to calculate longitude. It thus provides a much improved navigational capability that has only been recently supplanted by modern devices such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). A compass is any magnetically sensitive device capable of indicating the direction of the magnetic north of a planet's magnetosphere. The face of the compass generally highlights the cardinal points of north, south, east and west. Often, compasses are built as a stand alone sealed instrument with a magnetized bar or needle turning freely upon a pivot, or moving in a fluid, thus able to point in a northerly and southerly direction. The compass was invented in ancient China around 247 B.C., and was used for navigation by the 11th century. The dry compass was invented in medieval Europe around 1300.

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Compasses Sample Sentences in News


  • Bats Use Polarized Light to Set Their Internal Compasses
    We know that bats use echolocation to navigate obstacles and hunt prey, but new research shows that they base their internal compass on the orientation of the setting sun's scattered light. Read more on this news related to 'Compasses'
  • Bats use polarized light to calibrate internal compasses
    Bats are the only other mammal, other than humans, known to be able to perceive polarized light. Photo by Flickr user Noel Reynolds Bats navigate the evening sky using patterns of polarized light, according to a new study. Researchers from Queen’s University in Belfast have found that in addition to their uncommon echolocation skills, bats use polarized sunlight Read more on this news related to 'Compasses'
  • Wikia Maps a playground for amateur cartographers
    Hold on to your compasses amateur cartographers, for there's an exciting new online tool at your disposal. Jimmy Wales' profit-making wiki-hosting service Wikia, sibling to the not-for-profit Wikipedia, is introducing a feature called Wikia Maps. Wikia Maps is a fan-authored mapping tool that will allow you as a user to create maps of real or fictional pl Read more on this news related to 'Compasses'

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