stadia

noun
sta·​dia | \ ˈstā-dē-ə How to pronounce stadia (audio) \

Definition of stadia

: a surveying method for determination of distances and differences of elevation by means of a telescopic instrument having two horizontal lines through which the marks on a graduated rod are observed also : the instrument or rod

First Known Use of stadia

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stadia

borrowed from French, "rod with graduated measurements," borrowed from Italian, probably borrowed from plural of New Latin stadium "stage, gradation," going back to Latin, "unit of length" — more at stadium

Note: According to several sources the word stadia in reference to a graduated rod was introduced by Piedmontese army engineers mapping the border between France and Savoy in 1816 (see M. Goulier, "Mémoire sur la stadia, et sur les instruments servant, conjointement avec elle, au mesurage des distances," Mémorial de l'Officier du Génie, no. 16, 2. série, tome 1 [1854], p. 156; A. Laussedat, Recherches sur les instruments, les méthodes et le dessin topographiques, tome 1 [Paris, 1898], pp. 166-67, citing Nicodemo Jadanza, Per la storia della celerimensura). The word appeared in the title of a report on this survey, "Rapport sur la stadia," written in 1822 by a staff officer, M. de Lostende, and published in the Mémorial du Dépôt général de la Guerre, tome 4 (1828). The Piedmontese army engineer and inventor of optical instruments Ignazio Porro (1801-75) traced the word directly to the ancient unit of length (see Le tachéometrie, ou lȧart de lever des plans et faireles nivellements, Paris, 1858, p. 265), though this seems somewhat improbable semantically.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stadia

Time Traveler for stadia

Time Traveler

The first known use of stadia was in 1865

See more words from the same year

Statistics for stadia

Cite this Entry

“Stadia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stadia. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on stadia

Nglish: Translation of stadia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stadia for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stadia

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!