One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An instrument for determining altitude attained, especially a barometric or radar device fitted in an aircraft.
- ‘At a height of 60 kilometres, it will be able to detect its own altitude using a pair of radar altimeters, which will be able to measure the exact distance to the surface.’
- ‘Our wingman called ‘lost sight’ and reported that his radar altimeter, which had been intermittent, had decided to fail entirely.’
- ‘They had not yet gotten used to flying blacked out over shifting sand dunes and having their attention refocused every time the radar altimeter indicated less than 10 feet above the ground.’
- ‘On entering the water, I am immediately on an undersea treadmill, legs pumping furiously, pressure gauge falling like the altimeter of a crashing aircraft.’
- ‘The Dorset-based firm produces devices such as altimeters, braking systems, smoke detectors and towed aerial targets that act as decoys for enemy fire.’
Early 20th century: from Latin altus ‘high’ + -meter.
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