ver·​ni·​er | \ ˈvər-nē-ər How to pronounce vernier (audio) \

Definition of vernier

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a short scale made to slide along the divisions of a graduated instrument for indicating parts of divisions
2a : a small auxiliary device used with a main device to obtain fine adjustment
b : any of two or more small supplementary rocket engines or gas nozzles on a missile or a rocket vehicle for making fine adjustments in the speed or course or controlling the attitude

called also vernier engine



Definition of vernier (Entry 2 of 3)

: having or comprising a vernier


biographical name
Ver·​nier | \ vern-ˈyā How to pronounce Vernier (audio) , ˈvər-nē-ər \

Definition of Vernier (Entry 3 of 3)

Pierre circa 1580–1637 French mathematician

Examples of vernier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The engine design features a large central engine surrounded by four vernier thrusters, which swivel round a point to precisely correct the rocket's attitude. Euan Mckirdy, CNN, "North Korea's missile launch: What do the images tell us?," 16 May 2017

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

First Known Use of vernier


1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1788, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vernier


after Pierre vernier, who described such a scale in 1631

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The first known use of vernier was in 1766

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Cite this Entry

“Vernier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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