from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An instrument consisting of two hinged legs, used to measure thickness and distances.
  • noun A large instrument having a fixed and a movable arm on a graduated stock, used for measuring the diameters of logs and similar objects.
  • noun A vernier caliper.
  • noun The assembly housing the brake pads in a disc brake.
  • noun The assembly in certain bicycle brakes that forces the brake pads against the wheel rim.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In forestry, an instrument for measuring the diameter of trees or logs.
  • To ascertain the diameter of (any cylindrical body) by means of calipers, or by a star-gage: as, to culiper a gun.
  • noun An instrument for measuring diameters; a caliber: commonly in the plural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Uncommon variant of calipers.
  • noun automotive The part of a disc brake that holds the brake pads.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an instrument for measuring the distance between two points (often used in the plural)
  • verb measure the diameter of something with calipers


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration of caliber.]


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  • The thickness of a sheet of paper or card stock. Traditionally measured in points (thousandths of an inch), caliper is now measured in microns (micrometers).

    November 6, 2007