sun·​di·​al ˈsən-ˌdī(-ə)l How to pronounce sundial (audio)
: 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 The story of precision timing begins with primitive yet ingenious methods like sundials and water clocks, markers of humanity's first steps in timekeeping. Markus Lutz, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 From ancient sundials to today's atomic clocks, the quest to quantify time has profoundly influenced civilization. Markus Lutz, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 Bill Nye helps create a sundial at Cornell University that glows when the Sun reaches its daily peak in the sky. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 2 Sep. 2011 Taxidermied crabs and macaws share space with a beguiling pocket sundial from the 16th century. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 6 Jan. 2024 In the year 2000, the community erected the Millennium Monument, a massive stone sculpture that also acts as a sundial. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 27 Nov. 2023 Introduction How Life Keeps Time Eons before the invention of sundials, watches and atomic clocks, organisms evolved biological tools to keep time. Quanta Magazine, 19 Dec. 2023 This scale-model trip begins with a sundial on the Southwest Commuter Trail in downtown Madison and shifts to the Military Ridge Trail. Brian E. Clark, Chicago Tribune, 20 Sep. 2023 Artist and architect Riccardo Mariano plans to build the world’s largest free-standing sundial which will simultaneously generate clean energy. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, 20 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sundial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sundial was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near sundial

Cite this Entry

“Sundial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sun·​di·​al -ˌdī(-ə)l How to pronounce sundial (audio)
: a device to show the time of day by the position of the shadow cast on a marked plate or disk usually by an object with a straight edge

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