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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gyroscope \Gy"ro*scope\ (j[imac]"r[-o]*sk[=o]p), n. [Gr. gy^ros ring, circle + -scope.] 1. A rotating wheel, mounted in a ring or rings, for illustrating the dynamics of rotating bodies, the composition of rotations, etc. It was devised by Professor W. R. Johnson, in 1832, by whom it was called the rotascope. [1913 Webster] 2. A form of the above apparatus, invented by M. Foucault, mounted so delicately as to render visible the rotation of the earth, through the tendency of the rotating wheel to preserve a constant plane of rotation, independently of the earth's motion. [1913 Webster]