Definition of pelorus in English:


nounPlural peloruses

  • A sighting device on a ship for taking the relative bearings of a distant object.

    • ‘Conventional peloruses are used to determine a bearing of an object with the knowledge of the vessel's heading.’
    • ‘As the navigator's equivalent of adventurer with a pelorus, she has endeared herself to the ship's company with her prowess on the bridge and her stamina ashore.’
    • ‘Their preparation and composure was further tested when pelorus repeats, gyros, GPS and even their sight were removed from their repertoire of navigational aids.’
    • ‘The peloruses and magnetic compass came from the spares box, as did the small signal lights.’


Mid 19th century: perhaps from Pelorus, said to be the name of Hannibal's pilot.