One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A mechanism, typically consisting of rings pivoted at right angles, for keeping an instrument such as a compass or chronometer horizontal in a moving vessel or aircraft.
- ‘These were a ship's chronometer - a big one in a box, suspended with gimbals like a ship's compass - and two smaller, sturdier, pocket-sized ones.’
- ‘A lightweight carbon fiber dome protects the gimbal and sensors.’
- ‘The actual port on the bottom of the camera barrel is mounted in a gimbal so the barrel can rotate around for the best picture.’
- ‘Hydraulic gimbals were engineered to quietly move a 225-ton set around on the head of a pin.’
- ‘The compass is mounted in a pendulous gimbal such that when subjected to high angular rates, the compass swings in its mount.’
Late 16th century (used in the plural denoting connecting parts in machinery): variant of earlier gimmal, itself a variant of late Middle English gemel ‘twin, hinge, finger ring which can be divided into two rings’, from Old French gemel ‘twin’, from Latin gemellus, diminutive of geminus.
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