Definition of gimbal in English:


Pronunciation /ˈjimb(ə)l//ˈɡimb(ə)l/


often gimbals
  • 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.

    • ‘Hydraulic gimbals were engineered to quietly move a 225-ton set around on the head of a pin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A lightweight carbon fiber dome protects the gimbal and sensors.’
    • ‘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 that can be divided into two rings from Old French gemel twin from Latin gemellus, diminutive of geminus.