sun·​di·​al | \ ˈsən-ˌdī(-ə)l How to pronounce sundial (audio) \

Definition of sundial

: an instrument to show the time of day by the shadow of a gnomon on a usually horizontal plate or on a cylindrical surface

Examples of sundial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Outside, check out the giant sundial designed by sculptor Henry Moore, and the shiny bronze Copernicus statue in the front of the building. Rebecca Holland, Forbes, 21 May 2021 The last sundial was placed was in 2008, for Latin music heartthrob José José. Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2021 This is like the difference between building a stick-in-the-ground sundial versus a comparatively more complex accounting tool like an abacus, as one head of quantum research at a major Wall Street bank put it to me. Robert Hackett, Fortune, 8 Dec. 2020 Even the giant sundial out front is getting into the act. Steve Rubenstein,, 4 Sep. 2020 The pole serves as a gnomon, the part of a sundial that casts a shadow to denote time. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2020 Without the 9 to 5 metering out the hours of our day, breakfast-time, lunch-time, snack-time and dinner-time have become the new sundials of our waking hours. Amanda Albee, Dallas News, 17 Apr. 2020 Some 5,000 years ago, Mesopotamians used cuneiform writing to preserve information; the Roman playwright Plautus wrote that sundials chopped the day into pieces. Emily Baumgaertner, Los Angeles Times, 1 Jan. 2020 Beep’s and the sundial are on our 49 Mile Scenic Route. Heather Knight,, 15 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sundial.' 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 sundial

1555, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of sundial was in 1555

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Statistics for sundial

Last Updated

29 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sundial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for sundial



English Language Learners Definition of sundial

: a device that is used to show the time of day by the position of the sun and that consists of a plate with markings like a clock and an object with a straight edge that casts a shadow onto the plate


sun·​di·​al | \ ˈsən-ˌdī-əl How to pronounce sundial (audio) \

Kids Definition of sundial

: a device that shows the time of day by the position of the shadow cast onto a marked plate by an object with a straight edge

More from Merriam-Webster on sundial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sundial

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


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