Definition of dipstick in US English:



  • 1A graduated rod for measuring the depth of a liquid, especially oil in a vehicle's engine.

    • ‘It's one of the legends of motoring that early VW Beetles lacked even a gas gauge, the hapless owner having to use a dipstick to check whether there was enough fuel in the tank to get home.’
    • ‘With regard to soot or debris, these would be noticeable on the dipstick or through your sense of touch.’
    • ‘When loosening the dipstick, see if there's any ‘give’ in the oil fill tube.’
    • ‘The fuel levels were checked as being correct prior to the flight with a dipstick and, without any reason to suspect a leak, the pilot assumed a gauge error.’
    • ‘The good news for consumers is there's no need to look under the hood anyway, as the dipstick and filler openings for the windshield washer fluid and engine oil are hidden in a service module behind the faux grille on the front of the car.’
    • ‘I opened the door, released the lever and pulled out the dipstick.’
    • ‘On some equipment, a visual sight glass or gauge shows fluid levels without opening the system, while on others a dipstick or other manual measuring device is used.’
    • ‘The fueler stated that he ‘did not observe either pilot check the fuel dipsticks, climb up the fueler's ladder to check the fuel or walk around the airplane.’’
    • ‘Could he recall what was showing on the dipstick after filling the engine with oil?’
    • ‘You can make a dipstick by nailing a shiny can lid to the end of a stick at least three-feet long and marking one inch graduations on the stick.’
    • ‘The correct procedure for checking oil is to pull out the dipstick, wipe it dry and then insert it back in its place.’
    • ‘Does this airplane have a calibrated dipstick for the tanks?’
    • ‘Aaiu investigators said the flight crew had not take the precaution of taking a manual reading of fuel tank levels with a dipstick at Luton.’
    • ‘The fast-fit specialist carried out vehicle inspections at three of its recent fleet safety days and found that almost 25% of cars checked needed at least one litre of oil while one engine had no trace of oil on the dipstick.’
    • ‘Never run a mower when the oil level is below the add mark on the dipstick.’
    • ‘I pulled over and yanked the dipstick: not a hint of oil.’
  • 2informal A stupid or inept person.

    • ‘The boys were all acting like dipsticks as usual, as it would be a very LONG time before they reached emotional maturity.’
    • ‘Along with a number of expletives, they questioned her intellectual depth and called her ‘something of a dipstick, an attractive one, but still a dipstick.’’
    • ‘Why should we queue up with this bunch of dipsticks?’
    • ‘Dive buddies are so useful, but one thing they don't warn you about in the training manual is having your personal belongings raided by the dipstick who forgot to bring her suitcase.’
    • ‘If the dipsticks in Congress really had national security threats on their minds, they'd probably be worrying about that one - not the risk that ownership of Unocal might allow China to tamper with the U.S. oil supply in time of war.’
    idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
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