barometer

noun ba·rom·e·ter \ bə-ˈrä-mə-tər \
Updated on: 10 Dec 2017

Definition of barometer

1 : an instrument for determining the pressure of the atmosphere and hence for assisting in forecasting weather and for determining altitude (see altitude 1a)
2 : something that indicates fluctuations (as in public opinion)
  • housing sales and other economic barometers
3 : standard, test
  • a barometer to measure high school talent
  • —Jeff Fellenzer

barometric

play \ˌber-ə-ˈme-trik, ˌba-rə-\ adjective

barometrically

play \-tri-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

barometry

play \bə-ˈrä-mə-trē\ noun

Examples of barometer in a Sentence

  1. a legendary Broadway flop that has subsequently become the barometer by which failure in the theater is judged

Recent Examples of barometer from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barometer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

When did barometer become figurative?

Originally, barometer referred to an instrument that measures atmospheric pressure. Although this meaning is still very much in use, the word has taken on a strongly figurative sense denoting something that signals changes in conditions not necessarily related to the weather. This extended use of barometer has existed since at least the early 18th century, when Isaac Bickerstaff used it in an article in The Tatler: “I have an Engine in my Study, which is a Sort of a Political Barometer, or, to speak more intelligibly, a State Weather-Glass.”

First Known Use of barometer

1632


BAROMETER Defined for English Language Learners

barometer

noun

Definition of barometer for English Language Learners

  • : an instrument that is used to measure air pressure and predict changes in the weather

  • : something that is used to indicate or predict something


BAROMETER Defined for Kids

barometer

noun ba·rom·e·ter \ bə-ˈrä-mə-tər \

Definition of barometer for Students

: an instrument that measures air pressure and is used to forecast changes in the weather


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