Sailor Speak of the Week – Quadrant


Definition

Noun

  • An old instrument used for measuring the altitude angle of celestial body. It can measure angles up to 90°.
  • The curved yoke of a 90° arc that controls the rudder as a tiller (AKA steering quadrant).

Origin

17th century for the instrument. Mid-19th century for the steering device. From Latin, quadrans, meaning one quarter.

Comments

There are many different types of quadrants which can be used to take celestial readings and give the observer various kinds of information.

References

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport Museum.

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