from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that wipes.
  • n. Something, such as a towel, used for wiping.
  • n. A device designed for wiping, as on an automobile windshield.
  • n. A projecting cam, as on a rotating shaft, that activates another machine part.
  • n. A movable electrical contact, as in a rheostat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. something, such as a towel, that is used for wiping
  • n. something, such as a windscreen wiper, that is designed for wiping
  • n. a movable electric contact in some device
  • n. A junior role in the engine room of a ship, someone who wipes down machinery and generally keeps it clean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, wipes.
  • n. Something used for wiping, as a towel or rag.
  • n. A piece generally projecting from a rotating or swinging piece, as an axle or rock shaft, for the purpose of raising stampers, lifting rods, or the like, and leaving them to fall by their own weight; a kind of cam.
  • n. A rod, or an attachment for a rod, for holding a rag with which to wipe out the bore of the barrel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as wiper-wheel. See the extract and also wipe-spark.
  • n. A ring in a shaft-bearing, resting by its inner surface on the top of the shaft and hanging with its bottom elements in a bath of oil. As the shaft revolves the ring turns slowly with it, and brings up the oily parts of its surface which are wiped off by the grooves in which the ring is steadied.
  • n. One who or that which wipes.
  • n. That on which anything is wiped, as a hand-towel or a handkerchief.
  • n. In machinery, a piece projecting generally from a horizontal axle, for the purpose of raising stampers, pounders, or pistons in a vertical direction and letting them fall by their own weight. Wipers are employed in fulling-mills, stamping-mills, oil-mills, powder-mills, etc. Also wipe.
  • n. A steel implement for cleaning the bore of a musket, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a worker who wipes
  • n. a mechanical device that cleans the windshield
  • n. contact consisting of a conducting arm that rotates over a series of fixed contacts and comes to rest on an outlet


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • A similar method is described in Syuzi Pakhchyan's book Fashioning Technology, which uses a magnet to keep the conductive "wiper" in place.

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  • I agree that making a novel “slate-wiper” virus is vastly more challenging.

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  • "They cut my pay down just as off-hand as they do the pay of any dirty little wiper in the yard."

    - Frank Norris, The Octopus, ch. 1

    August 9, 2008