Share this entry

Share this page

Jacob's staff

Syllabification: Ja·cob's staff

Definition of Jacob's staff in English:

noun

A rod with a sliding cursor formerly used for measuring distances and heights, especially in navigation.
Example sentences
  • In January 1472 he made observations of a comet, using his Jacob's staff, which were accurate enough to allow it to be identified with Halley's comet 210 years (and three returns of the 70 year period comet) later.

Origin

mid 16th century (denoting a pilgrim's staff): alluding to St. James (Jacobus in ecclesiastical Latin), whose symbols are a pilgrim's staff and a scallop shell.

Definition of Jacob's staff in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure