- a stand or enclosure of wood or nonmagnetic metal for supporting and housing a compass.
New York State Older Use.
- a side branch of a river; millrace.
- a housing for a ship’s compass
“wooden box for a ship’s compass,” c.1750, corruption of bittacle (1620s), which is probably from Spanish bitacula or Portuguese bitacola, both from Latin habitaculum “little dwelling place,” from habitare “to inhabit” (see habit).