Magnetic-needle definitions

A slender bar of magnetized steel usually suspended on a low-friction mounting and used in various instruments, especially in the magnetic compass, to indicate the direction of the earth's magnetic poles.
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A slender bar of magnetized steel which, when mounted so as to swing freely on a pivot, will point along the line of the magnetic meridian toward the magnetic poles, approximately north and south: it is the essential part of a magnetic compass.
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