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

  • n. A device consisting of two logarithmically scaled rules mounted to slide along each other so that multiplication, division, and other more complex computations are reduced to the mechanical equivalent of addition or subtraction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An analog calculator consisting of three interlocking strips marked with logarithmic scales, such that multiplication, division etc. can be performed by the equivalent of addition and subtraction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a mathematical instrument consisting of two parts, one of which slides upon the other, for the mechanical performance of addition and subtraction, and, by means of logarithmic scales, of multiplication and division.
  • n. a thin, flat calculating device consisting of a fixed outer piece and a movable middle piece. Both pieces are graduated in such a way (as, by a logarithmic scale) that multiplication, division, and other mathematical functions of an input variable may be rapidly determined by movement of the middle pieces to a location on one scale corresponding to the input value, and reading off the result on another scale. A movable window with a hairline assists in alignment of the scales. This device has been largely superseded by the electronic calculator, which has a greater precision than the slide rule. Also called colloquially slipstick.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sliding rule. See slide.

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

  • n. analog computer consisting of a handheld instrument used for rapid calculations; have been replaced by pocket calculators


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  • A calculating device with sliding scales that can perform a range of mathematical and scientific calculations, including logarithms, roots, powers, exponentials. The modern form appeared in 1859 as an artillery calculator. Slide rules were in common use until electronic calculators appeared in the 1960s. See Calculating Devices.

    January 27, 2008