noun Nautical.

  1. a stand or enclosure of wood or nonmagnetic metal for supporting and housing a compass.

New York State Older Use.

  1. a side branch of a river; millrace.


  1. 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).

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