gim·​bal | \ˈgim-bəl, ˈjim- \

Definition of gimbal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that permits a body to incline freely in any direction or suspends it so that it will remain level when its support is tipped usually used in plural

called also gimbal ring


gimballed or gimbaled; gimballing or gimbaling

Definition of gimbal (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to provide with or support on gimbals

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Did You Know?


One place you might encounter gimbals is on a ship, where they are used to keep compasses and other things level with the horizon in contrast to the pitch and roll of the vessel at sea. The word gimbal is an alteration of "gemel," a word for a type of finger-ring popular in the 16th century that could be divided into two separate rings. The word comes from Anglo-French gemel ("twin"), which in turn comes from Latin gemellus, a diminutive of "geminus," the Latin word for "twin."

Examples of gimbal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To make these massive pictures, a photographer uses an automated rotating gimbal made by Gigapan. Chris Clarke, Popular Mechanics, "Get Lost In This 1 Gigapixel Photo Inside the USAF Museum," 30 Jan. 2017 The camera is mounted on a three-axis gimbal, has a flight time of 25 minutes, and shoots 4K HDR video and RAW photos from a 21-megapixel Sony sensor. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Parrot's New Super-Lightweight Anafi Drone Might Be Ideal for the Casual Vacationer," 6 June 2018 The device also uses a three-axis gimbal, which should give that camera a little more stability and flexibility while filming compared to the Spark’s two-axis option. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Hands-on: DJI’s new Mavic Air is a beefed-up Spark with 4K video," 23 Jan. 2018 The competition: Building a different kind of lidar To build his original lidar, David Hall mounted 64 lasers on a spinning gimbal that rotated several times per second. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Velodyne invented modern lidar—it’s about to face real competition," 19 Apr. 2018 Unlike the cheaper and smaller DJI Spark, the Mavic Air can shoot 4K video and RAW images, stabilized by a three-axis gimbal. Alex Fitzpatrick, Time, "The DJI Mavic Air Is the Most Fun I've Ever Had Flying a Drone," 7 Feb. 2018 Drone vocabulary: the gimbal Without that rig attaching the camera to the hull, drone footage would be unwatchable shaking. Popular Mechanics, "Drones: Your Guide to Video's Newest Indispensable Tool," 5 Sep. 2017 Airplane night vision systems To use night vision systems from above, the sensors are mounted in a gimbal, a support that keeps an object in its center steady despite movement and vibration. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Seeing in the Dark: The History of Night Vision," 19 May 2017 Hall mounted an array of lasers on a spinning gimbal. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How the lidar-on-a-chip technology GM just bought probably works," 11 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gimbal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gimbal


circa 1780, in the meaning defined above


1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gimbal


alteration of obsolete gemel double ring, from Middle English, from Anglo-French gemel, jomel, from Latin gemellus, diminutive of geminus

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Time Traveler for gimbal

The first known use of gimbal was circa 1780

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obstinately defiant of authority

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