Definitions

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

  • n. A case that supports and protects a ship's compass, located near the helm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The wooden housing for a ship's compass, with its corrector magnets and illuminating arrangements; the log and other equipment for measuring the ship's speed is also stowed there.
  • n. The instrument cluster on a car or motorcycle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A case or box placed near the helmsman, containing the compass of a ship, and a light to show it at night.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A framework or case on the deck of a ship, in front of the steersman, and also in various other positions, containing a nautical compass, and fitted with lights by which the compass can be read at night.

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

  • n. a nonmagnetic housing for a ship's compass (usually in front of the helm)

Etymologies

Alteration of Middle English bitakille, from Old Spanish bitácula or from Old Portuguese bitácola, both from Latin habitāculum, habitation, from habitāre, to inhabit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Earlier bittacle, from French habitacle. Or from Spanish bitacula or Portuguese bitacola, both from Latin habitaculum ("little dwelling place"). Compare Spanish bitácora. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The magnetic needle in the binnacle was the point on which the Mary Turner ever pivoted.

    Chapter 12

  • "You'll get your bally head shot off some fine day," Captain Ward growled in answer, as he stepped to the binnacle and took the bearing of a peak which had just thrust its head through the clouds that covered Guadalcanar.

    A SON OF THE SUN

  • "We ought to be moving along a line that'll cross somewhere northard of New Zealand," Daughtry guessed to himself, after a hundred stolen glances into the binnacle.

    CHAPTER X

  • He darted a look into the binnacle and took a hurried compass bearing of the sounds Jerry was making.

    CHAPTER VI

  • Back and peering into the binnacle, he listened vainly for another wail from Jerry in the hope of verifying his first hasty bearing.

    CHAPTER VI

  • In the light of the binnacle his small blue eyes looked more malevolent than ever.

    CHAPTER VIII

  • But Louis took and gave a spoke and gazed imperturbably into the binnacle.

    Chapter 12

  • The split-level instrument design now includes an even wider horizontal display under a larger binnacle on the cowl, at the base of the windshield, this to accommodate the new i-MID Intelligent Multi-Informational Display.

    Honda's Sporty New Civic, Heavy on the 'Ick'

  • Honda The split-level instrument design now includes an even wider horizontal display under a larger binnacle on the cowl, at the base of the windshield, this to accommodate the new i-MID Intelligent Multi-Informational Display.

    A Giant Stumbles

  • As I passed between Harrison and the binnacle, which was built into the top of the cabin, I noticed that he was this time fully three points off.

    Chapter 14

Comments

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  • refers to the instrument cluster of a car - the register car review

    August 17, 2013

  • Ha!

    January 20, 2013

  • Let's ask Bill.

    January 20, 2013

  • Railroad telegraph shorthand for "To whose order is bill drawn? --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 20, 2013

  • "Binnacle, formerly called bittacle, a wooden case or box, which contains the compasses, log-glasses, watch-glasses, and lights to shew the compass at night."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 40

    October 13, 2008

  • "...his ship was answering as she had always answered. But as he peered down at the compass his blood dripping over the glass turned the binnacle light red."
    —Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 67

    February 27, 2008