from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A separate streamlined enclosure on an aircraft or spacecraft for sheltering the crew or cargo or for housing an engine and usually its related components.
  • noun A similar enclosure on a wind turbine that houses the energy-generating components, including the shaft, generator, and gearing, and to which the rotor and blades of the turbine are attached.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete A small boat.
  • noun The basket suspended from a balloon; hence, the framework forming the body of a dirigible balloon, and containing the machinery, passengers, etc.
  • noun A streamlined enclosure on an airplane, as for the engine or for the cargo or passengers; -- formerly used to refer to the boatlike, inclosed body of an airplane which is usually now called the fuselage, and now referring mostly to the enclosure for the engine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A separate streamlined enclosure mounted on an aircraft to house an engine, cargo, or crew.
  • noun The part between the tower and rotor of a wind turbine.
  • noun The compartment that holds passengers on a hot-air balloon, a dirigible, or an aerostat; a gondola.

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

  • noun a streamlined enclosure for an aircraft engine


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

[French, dinghy, gondola, from Old French nacele, small boat, from Late Latin nāvicella, diminutive of Latin nāvis, ship; see nāu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French nacele ("small boat"), from Latin navicella. The Modern English spelling is under the influence of Middle French and Modern French nacelle.


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  • The turbine's generator housing, called a nacelle, is pulled up the mountain.

    Zephyr on the Mountain 2007

  • At 62 tons, the nacelle is the "brains" of the turbine's operation and includes its gear box.

    Zephyr on the Mountain 2007

  • A nacelle is the 72-ton housing unit at the top of a wind turbine tower that holds equipment needed to convert wind energy to electricity.

    Boston Business News - Local Boston News | Boston Business Journal 2010

  • A nacelle is a streamlined enclosure that houses crew or cargo, or houses engines. David Pearson 2010

  • A nacelle is the streamlined cover that houses an aircraft engine, and the one at the Goodrich exhibit will protrude from the pavilion in such a way that it may even provide shelter from any passing showers to visitors who stand outside underneath it. News Articles 2010

  • The nacelle, which is located at the top of the wind turbine tower and functions to convert wind energy to electric power, consists of the wind turbine rotor axis, generator, multiplying gearbox, control system and electrical equipment. Aktuelle Nachrichten 2010

  • A nacelle is a streamlined enclosure that houses crew or cargo, or houses engines. David Pearson 2010

  • Local unit General Elektrik Ticaret & Servis AS may start manufacturing turbines and so-called nacelle casings, with half the output likely to be sold within Turkey as the government targets a 20-fold increase in wind capacity by 2020, said

    General Electric May Revive Plans for Wind Turbine Production in Turkey - Bloomberg 2010

  • The nacelle is the unit that houses the gearbox, drive train and control equipment on wind turbines. stories: News 2009

  • The 50 horse-power Antoinette engine, which was enclosed in the body (or 'nacelle') in the front of which the pilot sat, drove a propeller behind, revolving between the outriggers carrying the tail.

    A History of Aeronautics Evelyn Charles Vivian 1914


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  • From "A Field of Snow on a Slope of the Rosenberg" by Guy Davenport.

    January 19, 2010

  • "The nacelle is the structure that sits at the top of the tower and houses the gearbox, generator, and control electronics that regulate the energy and keep the nacelle pointing into the wind."

    - email newsletter, Hepburn Wind, 13 Oct 2010.

    October 13, 2010

  • I know this from Star Trek.

    October 13, 2010

  • The engines were sometimes called this on "Star Trek."

    June 13, 2012

  • The newly-designed Indian Chief Classic motorcycles uses a nacelle housing to cover the headlight--it is similar in nature to an encasing structure called a cowling.

    December 14, 2015

  • "The nacelles containing the tiny air turbines, which gave such devices the power to propel themselves through the air, were prominent; it was built for speed."

    The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, p 98 of the Spectra trade paperback

    May 19, 2016