slide rule

noun

Definition of slide rule

: a manual device used for calculation that consists in its simple form of a ruler and a movable middle piece which are graduated with similar logarithmic scales

Examples of slide rule in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But even without a pocket calculator or slide rule, Cassidy is sensitive to the need for more even-strength production. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "Approaching quarter mark of season, Bruins need to improve 5-on-5 scoring," 7 Feb. 2021 That was a bit of this stereotype of the Asian with a slide rule. David Marchese, New York Times, "Yo-Yo Ma and the Meaning of Life," 20 Nov. 2020 Though Johnson herself never ventured into the cosmos, her formulas—scrawled on paper with a pencil and a slide rule—will continue to power spaceflight for decades to come. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Smithsonian Curators Remember Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Highlighted in ‘Hidden Figures,’ Who Died at 101," 24 Feb. 2020 With little more than a pencil and a slide rule, Katherine Johnson calculated the trajectories that in 1969 let Apollo 11 land on the moon and return to Earth. Hiroko Masuike, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Weinstein, Kobe Bryant: Your Monday Evening Briefing," 24 Feb. 2020 Johnson and her colleagues used only a slide rule, pencils, and a desktop calculator to calculate the path needed to get astronauts to the moon and to bring the group back home safely. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies at 101 after lifetime of shattering gender and racial barriers," 24 Feb. 2020 Hers was a labor not of scheduling or cleaning but rather of mathematics: using a slide rule or mechanical calculator in complex calculations to check the work of her superiors — engineers who, unlike her, were white and male. Harrison Smith, BostonGlobe.com, "Katherine Johnson, ‘hidden figure’ at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101," 24 Feb. 2020 Hers was a labor not of scheduling or cleaning but rather of mathematics: using a slide rule or mechanical calculator in complex calculations to check the work of her superiors — engineers who, unlike her, were white and male. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Katherine Johnson, ‘hidden figure’ at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101," 24 Feb. 2020 Think of an armillary sphere like a circular slide rule with four separate axes. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This Is the Only Working Armillary Sphere on Earth," 2 Jan. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of slide rule

1663, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about slide rule

Time Traveler for slide rule

Time Traveler

The first known use of slide rule was in 1663

See more words from the same year

Statistics for slide rule

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Slide rule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slide%20rule. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for slide rule

slide rule

noun

English Language Learners Definition of slide rule

: an old-fashioned instrument that is like a ruler with a middle piece that slides back and forth and that is used to do calculations

More from Merriam-Webster on slide rule

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about slide rule

Comments on slide rule

What made you want to look up slide rule? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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