One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A device consisting of a series of concentric arcs engraved on a quadrant, used for the accurate measurement of angles, altitudes, and heights. Also (in full "nonius quadrant"): the quadrant itself; also called pantometer. Frequently attributive Now chiefly historical.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From post-classical Latin Nonius, Latinized form of the name of Pedro Nunes, Portuguese mathematician, who invented this device and described it in his work De Crepusculis.
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