as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle

nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
Context: This is a definition of the word "compass" from a dictionary

Question: "an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north." This is the example sentence. How should I see this "as" in bold? I think it's somehow tied to "by means of", but I don't know how to see this.

Source: Definition of compass | Dictionary.com
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Either the dictionary thinks there are other ways in which compasses can determine directions, and freely rotating magnetized needle is just one of them, or, as I believe is the case, it is a mistake.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think you were right the first time. It's one example of compass technology but not the only one.

    - an instrument for determining directions, as, for example, by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north

    "as" introduces the description of the manner in which it operates

    This is another type:

    The solid state compass is increasingly popular with sea-going vessels and is present in digital clocks, mobile phones and tablets. They use magnetic field sensors to feed into a microprocessor that displays data about the device's orientation.​
     
    Last edited:

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    "an instrument for determining directions, as by means of a freely rotating magnetized needle that indicates magnetic north."

    This is the example sentence.

    No, this is not the example sentence. This is a definition. This is not a sentence. This is a noun phrase.
    Dictionary definitions of nouns are often noun phrases.

    In this dictionary, examples are printed in italic font. The example might be a sentence, or noun phrases.
     
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