The use of the compass for navigation at sea was reported from China circa 1100, western Europe 1187, Arabia circa 1220, and Scandinavia circa 1300, although it probably dates from much earlier. Since the early 20th century the magnetic compass has been superseded by the gyrocompass as primary equipment for ships and aircraft.
- Point the binos in any direction and a digital compass takes a bearing.
- Sailors have been comparing their compasses, which show magnetic north, to the sun and stars, which show true north, for many centuries and noting the results in logs stretching back to the year 1590.
- This finding strengthened the idea that pigeons unable to see the sun rely on the earth's magnetic field as a compass.
- Discover that despite the aid of pairs of compasses, scissors and anything else you consider useful, the most you can get in before it breaks is about 1 cm.
- In the first plate of Europe, Urizen is portrayed majestically as an aged, Newtonian figure leaning down from the sun with a great pair of compasses to create the world.
- Postulate she puts those on with a pair of compasses.
- Extending the photograph beyond the compass of the glance into a continuum, he presents more information than a single frame could be expected to contain.
- She was high in her praise of the level of organisation of last year's training sessions and suggests that reaching the decider this year is well within the compass of the minors.
- We even relocate daybreak and sunset, which, one might surmise, are logical ways to determine the beginning and end of a given day, within the compass of clock-time.
- Within the relatively narrow compass of Northumberland and Durham - as it must seem to us today - it might even be said that he was a great one.
- As a musical instrument the singing voice has wide tonal compass and uniquely variable pitch, intensity, and stress.
- The modern concert harp has 46 or 47 strings and a compass of six and a half octaves.
verb[with object] archaic
- A Brisbane City Council radiovan has just compassed the streets announcing that the water will soon be cut off, period of outage unknown.
- One of the Troopers made a patrol, compassing the property about twice an hour, while the other two were to stay in the house.
- Raven continued turning the crank and the machine clicked and whirred as all the planets compassed about the sun on their courses.
- Edward III defined treason as imagining and compassing the death of the king; such imagining had to be accompanied by ‘overt acts’ to qualify as treasonous.
Middle English: from Old French compas (noun), compasser (verb), based on Latin com- 'together' + passus 'a step or pace'. Several senses ( 'measure', 'artifice', 'circumscribed area', and 'pair of compasses') that appeared in Middle English are also found in Old French, but their development and origin are uncertain. The transference of sense to the magnetic compass is held to have occurred in the related Italian word compasso, from the circular shape of the compass box.
Words that rhyme with compassencompass, rumpus
For editors and proofreaders
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.