American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An ancient device that measured time by marking the regulated flow of water through a small opening. Also called water glass.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A device for measuring time by the amount of water discharged from a vessel through a small aperture, the quantity discharged in a given unit of time, as an hour, being first determined. In the older clepsydras the hours were measured by the sinking of the surface of the water in the vessel containing it. In others the water ran from one vessel into another, there being in the lower a piece of cork or light wood, which as the vessel filled rose and thus indicated the hour. In later clepsydras the hours have been indicated by a dial. In fig. 2, the float, A, is attached to the end of a chain, which is wound around the spindle, B, and has at its other extremity the counterweight, C. When water is admitted from the cistern, D, the float rises, and the counterweight descends and turns the spindle, on the end of which is a hand which marks the hours on a dial as in a clock. In modern times a mercurial clepsydra has been employed for the exact measurement of very short intervals, the amount of mercury flowing out being determined by a balance.
- n. A chemical vessel.
- n. [capitalized] [NL.] In zoology, a genus of mollusks; the watering-pot shells: now called Aspergillum.
- n. A water clock, especially as used in the ancient world.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A water clock; a contrivance for measuring time by the graduated flow of a liquid, as of water, through a small aperture. See
- n. clock that measures time by the escape of water
- From Latin clepsydra. (Wiktionary)
- Latin, from Greek klepsudra : kleptein, kleps-, to steal + hudōr, water; see wed-1 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“-- The clepsydra was a kind of water-clock; the other vessel is compared to it, because of the liquid in it.”
“Stationed beside the clepsydra was a special officer whose duty it was not only to fill it but to stop the flow whenever a speaker was interrupted, thereby making certain he was not cheated of any of the time due him. ”
“MN This instrument showed the time with more accuracy than the hourglass, the clepsydra or the water-clock.”
“Christie's carried a detailed introduction of the two bronzes on its website, saying that the two formed part of the zodiacal clepsydra that decorated the Calm Sea Pavilion in the Old Summer Palace of Emperor Qianlong 1736-1795.”
“The clepsydra comprised the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac each of which, in their turn, spouted water to mark the various hours of the day with the exception of midday, when this elaborate hydraulic mechanism triggered all of the animals simultaneously," Courteault said.”
“They were originally part of a rococco clepsydra, or water clock, that featured the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac and was affixed to a pavilion inspired by Versailles.”
“But the lawyer is always in a hurry; there is the clepsydra limiting his time, and the brief limiting his topics, and his adversary is standing over him and exacting his rights.”
“Do you imagine that there are any teachers in the world so clever as to be able to convince others of the truth about acts of robbery or violence, of which they were not eye - witnesses, while a little water is flowing in the clepsydra?”
“But the lawyer is always in a hurry; there is the water of the clepsydra driving him on, and not allowing him to expatiate at will: and there is his adversary standing over him, enforcing his rights; the indictment, which in their phraseology is termed the affidavit, is recited at the time: and from this he must not deviate.”
“Babylonians develop the clepsydra, a clock that measures time using the flow of water.”
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