One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A graduated pillar or other vertical surface that serves to indicate the height reached by the Nile during its annual floods.
- ‘Basic calibration still found on the Nilometer's walls were used as an efficient measurement tool.’
- ‘The elevations at the Nilometers throughout Egypt were all tied to a single common datum.’
- ‘The readings of the Nilometers were relayed downstream to tell the height and progress of the flood, so that preparations could be made to arrange the irrigation most efficiently.’
- ‘The first Nilometers and mention of their level records go back to the third millennium B.C. and even earlier.’
- ‘When the water level in the Nilometer was below 6 meters, a famine occurred consequential to failed crop yield.’
Early 18th century: via French nilomètre from Greek Neilometrion, from Neilos ‘Nile’ + metron ‘measure’.
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