Instrument that consists of two adjustable legs or jaws for measuring the dimensions of material parts. Spring calipers have an adjusting screw and nut; firm-joint calipers use friction at the joint to hold the legs unmoving. Outside calipers measure thicknesses and outside diameters of objects; inside calipers measure hole diameters and distances between surfaces. Hermaphrodite calipers, which have one leg bent inward and one straight leg ending in a sharp point, are used for scribing lines at a specified distance from a flat or curved surface. See also micrometer.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on caliper, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up caliper? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More