Definition of clepsydra in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklɛpsɪdrə/

noun (plural clepsydras or clepsydrae /ˈklɛpsɪdriː/)

An ancient time-measuring device worked by a flow of water.
Example sentences
  • 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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: clep|sy¦dra

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