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escape +‎ -ment. The watch component is so called because it allows a tooth to escape from a pallet at each vibration.


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escapement (plural escapements)

  1. The contrivance in a timepiece (winding wristwatch) which connects the train of wheel work with the pendulum or balance, giving to the latter the impulse by which it is kept in vibration.
  2. A mechanism found in devices such as a typewriter or printer which controls lateral motion of the carriage.
  3. An escape or means of escape.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for escapement in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)