noun (plural clepsydras or clepsydrae /ˈklɛpsɪdriː/)
An ancient time-measuring device worked by a flow of water.
- Further back, the Chinese and the Romans used clepsydras (water clocks) at about the same time, although Egyptian sundials go further back.
- Of course the sun could not be used to tell the time at night and clepsydras or water clocks were in use in Egypt by 1500 BC.
- The device they used to ensure fairness was the clepsydra - ‘captured water’ - and was a simple jar with a hole.
Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek klepsudra, based on kleptein 'steal' + hudōr 'water'.
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