from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A navigational instrument containing a graduated 60-degree arc, used for measuring the altitudes of celestial bodies to determine latitude and longitude.
- n. See Sextans.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A navigational device for deriving angular distances between objects so as to determine latitude and longitude.
- n. One sixth of a circle or disc; a sector with an angle of 60°.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The sixth part of a circle.
- n. An instrument for measuring angular distances between objects, -- used esp. at sea, for ascertaining the latitude and longitude. It is constructed on the same optical principle as Hadley's quadrant, but usually of metal, with a nicer graduation, telescopic sight, and its arc the sixth, and sometimes the third, part of a circle. See Quadrant.
- n. The constellation Sextans.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In mathematics, the sixth part of a circle. Hence An important instrument of navigation and surveying, for measuring the angular distance of two stars or other objects, or the altitude of a star above the horizon, the two images being brought into coincidence by reflection from the transmitting horizon-glass, lettered b in the figure.
- n. [capitalized] Same as Sextans, 2.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a measuring instrument for measuring the angular distance between celestial objects; resembles an octant
- n. a unit of angular distance equal to 60 degrees
New Latin sextāns, sextant-, from Latin, sixth part (so called because the instrument's arc is a sixth of a circle), from sextus, sixth.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sextāns, a bronze coin worth one-sixth of an as. (Wiktionary)