A case that supports and protects a ship's compass, located near the helm.
[Alteration of Middle English bitakille, from Old Spanish bitácula or from Old Portuguese bitácola, both from Latin habitāculum, habitation, from habitāre, to inhabit; see ghabh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)binnacle
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.