1 [bin-uh-kuhl]
noun Nautical.
a stand or enclosure of wood or nonmagnetic metal for supporting and housing a compass.

1615–25; bin + (bitt)acle (late Middle English bitakille) < Portuguese bitacola < Latin habitāculum lodge, equivalent to habitā- (see inhabit) + -culum -cule2 Unabridged


2 [bin-uh-kuhl]
New York State Older Use.
a side branch of a river; millrace.

1855–60, Americanism; probably folk-etymological spelling of New York Dutch *binnekil, equivalent to Dutch binne(n) inner, interior (see ben1) + kil channel; see kill2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
binnacle (ˈbɪnəkəl)
a housing for a ship's compass
[C17: changed from C15 bitakle, from Portuguese bitácula, from Late Latin habitāculum dwelling-place, from Latin habitāre to inhabit; spelling influenced by bin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"wooden box for a ship's compass," c.1750, corruption of bittacle (1620s), which is probably from Sp. bitacula or Port. bitacola, both from L. habitaculum "little dwelling place," from habitare "to inhabit (see habit).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The steering gear and wheel are aft, with a detachable binnacle mounted between the wheel and main deckhouse.
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