dead reckoning

noun

1
: the determination without the aid of celestial observations of the position of a ship or aircraft from the record of the courses sailed or flown, the distance made, and the known or estimated drift
2
dead reckon verb

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Knowing that dead reckoning doesn’t account for variables like currents or steering errors, sailors would check their position by a sextant, using the Sun, Moon, planets or stars. Amy Shira Teitel, Discover Magazine, 15 June 2019 There is also straightforward dead reckoning and inertial navigation. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 25 Mar. 2021 Born in Marblehead, Mass., Ellen Creesy learned how to pilot a vessel from her father, who also taught her the rudiments of navigation: dead reckoning and how to read a nautical chart. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Feb. 2022 But for longitude, navigators had to rely on dead reckoning that was subject to errors. Tim Bajarin, Forbes, 28 Apr. 2021 The researchers modeled the animals’ behavior using a variety of math ideas and the navigational concept of dead reckoning. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 19 Mar. 2021 Yoni Nova Kusumawan, had to rely on dead reckoning—using the STS-50’s trackline and rate of speed to estimate where and when to intercept it. Tristram Korten, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Aug. 2020 But since all of these systems all used dead reckoning—which, again, compares a car’s location to that of a map—these solutions weren’t actually that much more advanced than the 1909 Jones Live-Map. Larry Printz, Ars Technica, 24 June 2020 Known as dead reckoning, the system didn't use satellites. Larry Printz, Ars Technica, 24 June 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dead reckoning was in 1613

Dictionary Entries Near dead reckoning

Cite this Entry

“Dead reckoning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dead%20reckoning. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

dead reckoning

noun
: calculation of the position of a ship or aircraft from the distance it has covered and the direction it has traveled without taking observations of the sun, stars, or moon

More from Merriam-Webster on dead reckoning

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY