• synonyms


[jim-buh lz, gim-]
noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. Sometimes gimbal. a contrivance, consisting of a ring or base on an axis, that permits an object, as a ship's compass, mounted in or on it to tilt freely in any direction, in effect suspending the object so that it will remain horizontal even when its support is tipped.
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Origin of gimbals

First recorded in 1570–80; alteration of gimmal
Also called gimbal ring.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gimbal

Historical Examples

  • The four pistons are carried upon the gimbal ring, which connects, by means of pivots, the two chair couplings.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 497, July 11, 1885


  • Gimbal, gim′bal, n. a contrivance for suspending the mariner's compass, so as to keep it always horizontal.

British Dictionary definitions for gimbal


pl n
  1. a device, consisting of two or three pivoted rings at right angles to each other, that provides free suspension in all planes for an object such as a gyroscope, compass, chronometer, etcAlso called: gimbal ring
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Word Origin

C16: variant of earlier gimmal finger ring, from Old French gemel, from Latin gemellus, diminutive of geminus twin
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 gimbal


1570s, "joints, connecting links;" alteration of gemel "twins" (late 14c.), from Old French jumel (Modern French jumeau) "a twin," from Latin gemellus, diminutive of geminus (see geminate). Related: Gimbals.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper