compass

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Related to pair of compasses: protractor
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TO COMPASS. To imagine; to contrive.
     2. In England, to compass the death of the king is high treason. Bract. 1. 3, c. 2 Britt. c. 8; Mirror, c. 1, s. 4.

References in classic literature ?
Barbicane did not answer, but after a rapid glance at the captain, took a pair of compasses wherewith to measure the angular distance of the terrestrial globe; then from the lower window he took an exact observation, and noticed that the projectile was apparently stationary.
he inquired of Wardle, when that gentleman was thoroughly out of breath, by reason of the indefatigable manner in which he had converted his legs into a pair of compasses, and drawn complicated problems on the ice.
No other,' said Mrs Lammle, laughing airily, and, full of affectionate blandishments, opening and closing Georgiana's arms like a pair of compasses, than my little Georgiana Podsnap.
Jukes, straddling his long legs like a pair of compasses, put on an air of superiority.
A pair of compasses were carved into the face of victim Catherine Eddowes and cryptic graffiti daubed on a wall was "the most flagrant clue of all", he said.