Definitions

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

  • noun A navigational instrument containing a graduated 60-degree arc, used for measuring the altitudes of celestial bodies for use in determining the latitude and longitude of the observer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun [capitalized] Same as Sextans, 2.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Math.) The sixth part of a circle.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Astron.) The constellation Sextans.
  • noun a small sextant inclosed in a cylindrical case to make it more portable.

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

  • noun nautical A navigational device for deriving angular distances between objects so as to determine latitude and longitude.
  • noun geometry One sixth of a circle or disc; a sector with an angle of 60°.

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

  • noun a measuring instrument for measuring the angular distance between celestial objects; resembles an octant
  • noun a unit of angular distance equal to 60 degrees

Etymologies

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

[New Latin sextāns, sextant-, from Latin, sixth part (so called because the instrument's arc is a sixth of a circle), from sextus, sixth; see s(w)eks in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin sextāns, a bronze coin worth one-sixth of an as.

Examples

  • I had to confess that I was not a navigator, that I had never looked through a sextant in my life, and that I doubted if I could tell a sextant from a nautical almanac.

    Chapter 4

  • I had to confess that I was not a navigator, that I had never looked through a sextant in my life, and that I doubted if I could tell a sextant from a nautical almanac.

    Chapter 4

  • A sextant is a navigational instrument that measures the altitudes of celestial bodies.

    The Season of Risks

  • A sextant is a navigational instrument that measures the altitudes of celestial bodies.

    The Season of Risks

  • A sextant is a navigational instrument that measures the altitudes of celestial bodies.

    The Season of Risks

  • Determining this in the 19th century most commonly involved the use of an optical device known as a sextant to measure the position of a celestial object (such as the sun) at a specific time (usually noon).

    March « 2009 « Publius the Geek’s Blog

  • Determining this in the 19th century most commonly involved the use of an optical device known as a sextant to measure the position of a celestial object (such as the sun) at a specific time (usually noon).

    24 « March « 2009 « Publius the Geek’s Blog

  • Determining this in the 19th century most commonly involved the use of an optical device known as a sextant to measure the position of a celestial object (such as the sun) at a specific time (usually noon).

    Better Know a Techie: Eleanor Creesy

  • The sextant is a powerful optical instrument, magnifying everything it sees twenty-eight times, but the price it pays for this magnification is a very narrow field of view, only 1.8 degrees wide corresponding to 0.6 miles on the ground, so that it is almost like looking down a gun barrel.

    First Man

  • The sextant is a powerful optical instrument, magnifying everything it sees twenty-eight times, but the price it pays for this magnification is a very narrow field of view, only 1.8 degrees wide corresponding to 0.6 miles on the ground, so that it is almost like looking down a gun barrel.

    First Man

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.