noun \ˈjī-rə-ˌskōp, British also ˈgī-\

: a wheel that spins quickly and is held in a frame that allows it to tilt in any direction

Full Definition of GYROSCOPE

:  a wheel or disk mounted to spin rapidly about an axis and also free to rotate about one or both of two axes perpendicular to each other and to the axis of spin so that a rotation of one of the two mutually perpendicular axes results from application of torque to the other when the wheel is spinning and so that the entire apparatus offers considerable opposition depending on the angular momentum to any torque that would change the direction of the axis of spin
gy·ro·scop·ic \ˌjī-rə-ˈskä-pik\ adjective
gy·ro·scop·i·cal·ly \-pi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Illustration of GYROSCOPE


First Known Use: 1856


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

A mechanical or optical device used to maintain orientation during motion. A mechanical gyroscope consists of a rapidly spinning wheel set in a framework that permits it to tilt freely in any direction or to rotate about any axis. The momentum of such a wheel causes it to retain its attitude when the framework is tilted. An optical gyroscope, laser or fibre, measures the interference pattern generated by two light beams, traveling in opposite directions within a mirrored ring or fibre loop, in order to detect very small changes in motion. Gyroscopes are used in compasses, in automatic pilots on ships and aircraft, in the steering mechanisms of torpedoes, in antiroll equipment on large ships, and in inertial guidance systems.


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