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Meaning of Backsaff


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  • (nautical) An early navigational instrument for measuring the altitude of the sun and hence calculating latitude
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia



Back"staff` (&?;), n. An instrument formerly used for taking the altitude of the heavenly bodies, but now superseded by the quadrant and sextant; -- so called because the observer turned his back to the body observed.

- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)



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The correct spelling of this word ought to be: Backstaff

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