a space, usually enclosed, in the forward fuselage of an airplane containing the flying controls, instrument panel, and seats for the pilot and copilot or flight crew.
a sunken, open area, generally in the after part of a small vessel, as a yacht, providing space for the pilot, part or all of the crew, or guests.
the space, including the seat and instrumentation, surrounding the driver of an automobile.
a pit or enclosed place for cockfights.
a place where a contest is fought or which has been the scene of many contests or battles.
(formerly) a space below the water line in a warship, occupied by the quarters of the junior officers and used as a dressing station for those wounded in action.

Origin of cockpit

First recorded in 1580–90; cock1 + pit1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cockpit

compartment, cabin, pit, quarters

Examples from the Web for cockpit

Contemporary Examples of cockpit

Historical Examples of cockpit

  • Into the cockpit, splashing, something dropped—a coil of rope.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Their country had been the cockpit of Europe from the time of Csar until Waterloo.

  • But at the same instant Chris leaped desperately from the cockpit of the scout.

    Raiders Invisible

    Desmond Winter Hall

  • With a word of farewell, he climbed out of the cockpit and onto a wing.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • I had to climb into the cockpit and straighten out the mess.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for cockpit



the compartment in a small aircraft in which the pilot, crew, and sometimes the passengers sitCompare flight deck (def. 1)
the driver's compartment in a racing car
  1. an enclosed or recessed area towards the stern of a small vessel from which it is steered
  2. (formerly) an apartment in a warship used as quarters for junior officers and as a first-aid station during combat
the site of numerous battles or campaigns
an enclosure used for cockfights
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cockpit

1580s, "a pit for fighting cocks," from cock (n.1) + pit (n.1). Used in nautical sense (1706) for midshipmen's compartment below decks; transferred to airplanes (1914) and to cars (1930s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper