cockpit (plural cockpits)

  1. (now, chiefly, historical) A pit or other enclosure for cockfighting. [from 16th c.]
    • 1719 April 24, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor […], OCLC 15864594 ↗; 3rd edition, London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor […], 1719, OCLC 838630407 ↗, pages 194–195 ↗:
      I obſerv'd a Place where there had been a Fire made, and a Circle dug in the Earth, like a Cockpit, where it is ſuppoſed the Savage Wretches had ſat down to their inhumane Feaſtings upon the Bodies of their Fellow-Creatures.
  2. (figurative) A site of conflict; a battlefield. [from 16th c.]
    • 2016, Peter Ackroyd, Revolution, Pan Macmillan 2017, p. 170:
      India became the cockpit in which it was shown that trade was war carried on under another name.
  3. (vulgar, slang) The vagina. [from 17th c.]
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], volume II, London: Printed [by Thomas Parker] for G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] […], OCLC 731622352 ↗:
      {...}} ſo that her thighs duly diſclod'd, and elevated, laid open all the outward proſpect of the treaſury of love: the roſe-lipt ouverture preſenting the cock-pit ſo fair, that it was not in nature even for a natural to miſs it: {{...}
  4. (Jamaica) A valley surrounded by steep forested slopes. [from 17th c.]
  5. (nautical, now, historical) The area set aside for junior officers including the ship's surgeon on a man-of-war, where the wounded were treated; the sickbay. [from 17th c.]
  6. (nautical) A well, usually near the stern, where the helm is located. [from 18th c.]
  7. The driver's compartment in a racing car (or, by extension, in a sports car or other automobile). [from 20th c.]
  8. The compartment in an aircraft in which the pilot sits and from where the craft is controlled; an analogous area in a spacecraft. [from 20th c.]
  9. (figurative) An area from where something is controlled or managed; a centre of control. [from 20th c.]
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • Italian: pozzetto
  • Italian: arena, campo combattimento galli, gallodromo
  • Spanish: reñidero

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