sex·​tant | \ ˈsek-stənt How to pronounce sextant (audio) \

Definition of sextant

: an instrument for measuring angular distances used especially in navigation to observe altitudes of celestial bodies (as in ascertaining latitude and longitude)

Illustration of sextant

Illustration of sextant

Examples of sextant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Note that with my DIY sextant (and most others), the string would point to a value on the protractor that is not the angle above the horizon. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Figure Out Where You Are With Nothing But a Watch and Protractor," 3 May 2018 Sure, a protractor works, but a sextant does this even better. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "Figure Out Where You Are With Nothing But a Watch and Protractor," 3 May 2018 In 2016, the sextant used by Carpathia's captain sold for just under $97,000. James Rogers, Fox News, "Rare Titanic rescue letters surface," 19 Apr. 2018 Anyway, the trailer has everything — romance, action, tragedy, big CGI waves, Shailene Woodley using a sextant, etc. Eliza Thompson, Cosmopolitan, "The First Trailer for Shailene Woodley's Sailboat Survival Movie Is Here and Great," 14 Mar. 2018 Instead, long-distance sailing was done by relying on the position of stars and use of sextants. Danielle Rossingh, CNN, "Donald Crowhurst: Sailor's mystery disappearance inspires two movies," 13 Mar. 2018 Thus, Portland is considering creating a sixth sextant. Andrew Theen,, "Sixth Sextant? City considering changing thousands of addresses to 'South Portland'," 28 Feb. 2018 Back in 1940, partial human remains were found on Gardner near the remnants of a campfire, along with an empty sextant box and pieces of a woman's shoe. Paula Mclain, Town & Country, "What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?," 17 Jan. 2017 Yet here was a guy in harm’s way trying to find his way in a war zone with something about as easy to use as a sextant. Scott Canon,, "Digital Life: Navigating a remake of federal cybersecurity," 15 May 2017

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

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First Known Use of sextant

1628, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sextant

New Latin sextant-, sextans sixth part of a circle, from Latin, sixth part, from sextus sixth

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Time Traveler for sextant

The first known use of sextant was in 1628

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English Language Learners Definition of sextant

: an instrument used to determine the position of a ship or airplane by measuring the positions of the stars and sun

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sextant

Spanish Central: Translation of sextant

Nglish: Translation of sextant for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sextant

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