One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(A trademark for) an instrument for measuring or recording the roughness or irregularity of a surface; specifically (a) one in which a fine stylus is drawn over a surface (especially that of a metal); (b) one consisting of a wheeled frame for travelling along a road; (c) one in which the surface of a material is scanned optically.
Late 19th century (in an earlier sense). From profile + -ometer.
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