sextant

noun
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 Chow's sextant, a navigation instrument that measured celestial objects and the horizon -- the only navigation device at that time -- was useless. Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNN, 23 Aug. 2021 The astrodome included a hanging point for a sextant so navigators would not have to hold the weighty instrument. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2021 For centuries, using a sextant, a sailor could mark a ship’s location by making a few calculations to determine a star’s position relative to the horizon. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2021 One, a rally in the Northeast sextant’s King School Park. oregonlive, 5 Sep. 2020 A year prior, the sextant used by the captain of rescue ship Carpathia sold for just under $97,000. Fox News, 12 June 2020 A year prior, the sextant used by the captain of rescue ship Carpathia sold for just under $97,000. Fox News, 12 June 2020 A year prior, the sextant used by the captain of rescue ship Carpathia sold for just under $97,000. Fox News, 12 June 2020 Darwin's sextant from the voyage aboard the Beagle. National Geographic, 11 June 2020 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of sextant was in 1628

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Dictionary Entries Near sextant

Sextans

sextant

sextet

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Cite this Entry

“Sextant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sextant. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sextant

Nglish: Translation of sextant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sextant

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