Compass Com"pass (k[u^]m"pas), n. [F. compas, fr. LL. compassus circle, prop., a stepping together; com- + passus pace, step. See {Pace}, {Pass}.] 1. A passing round; circuit; circuitous course. [1913 Webster]

They fetched a compass of seven day's journey. --2 Kings iii. 9. [1913 Webster]

This day I breathed first; time is come round, And where I did begin, there shall I end; My life is run his compass. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. An inclosing limit; boundary; circumference; as, within the compass of an encircling wall. [1913 Webster]

3. An inclosed space; an area; extent. [1913 Webster]

Their wisdom . . . lies in a very narrow compass. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

4. Extent; reach; sweep; capacity; sphere; as, the compass of his eye; the compass of imagination. [1913 Webster]

The compass of his argument. --Wordsworth. [1913 Webster]

5. Moderate bounds, limits of truth; moderation; due limits; -- used with within. [1913 Webster]

In two hundred years before (I speak within compass), no such commission had been executed. --Sir J. Davies. [1913 Webster]

6. (Mus.) The range of notes, or tones, within the capacity of a voice or instrument. [1913 Webster]

You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

7. An instrument for determining directions upon the earth's surface by means of a magnetized bar or needle turning freely upon a pivot and pointing in a northerly and southerly direction. [1913 Webster]

He that first discovered the use of the compass did more for the supplying and increase of useful commodities than those who built workhouses. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

8. A pair of compasses. [R.] See {Compasses.}

To fix one foot of their compass wherever they please. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

9. A circle; a continent. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The tryne compas [the threefold world containing earth, sea, and heaven. --Skeat.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

{Azimuth compass}. See under {Azimuth}.

{Beam compass}. See under {Beam}.

{Compass card}, the circular card attached to the needles of a mariner's compass, on which are marked the thirty-two points or rhumbs.

{Compass dial}, a small pocket compass fitted with a sundial to tell the hour of the day.

{Compass plane} (Carp.), a plane, convex in the direction of its length on the under side, for smoothing the concave faces of curved woodwork.

{Compass plant}, {Compass flower} (Bot.), a plant of the American prairies ({Silphium laciniatum}), not unlike a small sunflower; rosinweed. Its lower and root leaves are vertical, and on the prairies are disposed to present their edges north and south. [1913 Webster]

Its leaves are turned to the north as true as the magnet: This is the compass flower. --Longefellow.

{Compass saw}, a saw with a narrow blade, which will cut in a curve; -- called also {fret saw} and {keyhole saw}.

{Compass timber} (Shipbuilding), curved or crooked timber.

{Compass window} (Arch.), a circular bay window or oriel window.

{Mariner's compass}, a kind of compass used in navigation. It has two or more magnetic needles permanently attached to a card, which moves freely upon a pivot, and is read with reference to a mark on the box representing the ship's head. The card is divided into thirty-two points, called also rhumbs, and the glass-covered box or bowl containing it is suspended in gimbals within the binnacle, in order to preserve its horizontal position.

{Surveyor's compass}, an instrument used in surveying for measuring horizontal angles. See {Circumferentor}.

{Variation compass}, a compass of delicate construction, used in observations on the variations of the needle.

{To fetch a compass}, to make a circuit. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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