bin·​na·​cle ˈbi-ni-kəl How to pronounce binnacle (audio)
: a housing for a ship's compass and a lamp
: a container for instruments in an automobile dashboard
All but the shortest drivers find unrestricted sightlines to a hooded instrument binnacle loaded with nicely legible gauges.Daniel Charles Ross

Examples of binnacle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The old model's deep gauge binnacle has been trashed in favor of a 12.3-inch display with multiple layouts and the capability to display a full navigation map. Andrew Krok, Car and Driver, 18 May 2023 View Photos The changes inside center around two large 12.3-inch screens that are now housed in a single curved display binnacle. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 26 Mar. 2023 But mounting the camera on the steering column or underneath the dashboard binnacle isn't entirely ideal—to be monitored, the driver's face can't be obstructed by the steering wheel. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 27 Apr. 2023 Ahead lies the configurable instrument screen, housed in a slender binnacle. WIRED, 29 Mar. 2023 Rocker switches on the instrument binnacle are a close reach from the steering wheel and provide the ability to change the various powertrain modes (Electric, Comfort, Sport, Track) and chassis modes (Comfort, Sport, Track). K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, 6 Mar. 2023 There's a similarly sized digital gauge display in the binnacle, but that's likely reserved for fancier variants. Andrew Krok, Car and Driver, 31 Jan. 2023 There's even a conventional binnacle atop the main instrument display in front of the driver. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 14 Nov. 2022 The instrument binnacle is mounted to and moves with the steering column. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 14 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'binnacle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of Middle English bitakle, from Old Portuguese or Old Spanish; Old Portuguese bitácola & Old Spanish bitácula, from Latin habitaculum dwelling place, from habitare to inhabit — more at habitation

First Known Use

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of binnacle was in 1622

Dictionary Entries Near binnacle

Cite this Entry

“Binnacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


bin·​na·​cle ˈbin-i-kəl How to pronounce binnacle (audio)
: a box or stand containing a ship's compass and a lamp

More from Merriam-Webster on binnacle

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