Definition of astrolabe in English:



  • An instrument used to make astronomical measurements, typically of the altitudes of celestial bodies, and in navigation for calculating latitude, before the development of the sextant.

    • ‘The construction of astronomical instruments such as the astrolabe was also a speciality of the Arabs.’
    • ‘He also wrote works on astronomical instruments, for example on constructing and using an astrolabe.’
    • ‘Arab craftsmen produced complex astronomical instruments, astrolabes, which helped them plot the positions of the stars and tell the time of day.’
    • ‘Sophisticated instruments, which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery, were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.’
    • ‘She was well known for her development and construction of astrolabes.’
    • ‘Lavanha also studied instruments used in navigation, constructing astrolabes, quadrants and compasses.’


Late Middle English: from Old French astrelabe, from medieval Latin astrolabium, from Greek astrolabon, neuter of astrolabos ‘star-taking’.