One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Electricity a small flat conductor with an insulating handle that is used to measure the electrical charge of a body by picking up the charge when placed in contact with the body and transferring it to a measuring instrument.
2An object with an optically flat surface; a surface for use as a standard of flatness.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.
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