Definition of nacelle in US English:



  • 1A streamlined housing or tank for something on the outside of an aircraft or motor vehicle.

    ‘a gray aircraft with NAVY painted on the engine nacelles’
    • ‘Oil and fuel coming from three failed cylinders created a fire on the outboard side of the engine nacelle.’
    • ‘The center section of the wing, installed beneath the fuselage, carried the two engine nacelles and the retractable landing gear.’
    • ‘I could clearly see his engine nacelles, fuselage, wings and tail in the dark.’
    • ‘The oil tanks were carried in each engine nacelle.’
    • ‘The engine nacelles extend well beyond the wings' leading edges.’
    1. 1.1 The outer casing of an aircraft engine.
    2. 1.2 The car of an airship.


Early 20th century (originally denoting the car of an airship): from French, from late Latin navicella, diminutive of Latin navis ‘ship’.