the area in a plane, boat or racing car where the pilot or driver sits See related entries: Parts of a plane, Parts of boats and ships Word Origin late 16th cent. relating to a pit where cockfights are held: from cock + pit ‘a hole in the ground’. The current sense dates from the early 20th cent. and derives from an early 18th-cent. nautical term denoting an area in the aft lower deck of a man-of-war where the wounded were taken, later coming to mean ‘the “pit” or well from which a yacht is steered’; hence the place housing the controls of other vehicles.