We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out moreJump to Main NavigationJump to Content
  • Text size: A
  • A

satnav, n.

Forms:  19– satnav, 19– SATNAV. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by clipping or shortening. Etymon: satellite navigation n. at satellite n. Compounds 2.
orig. Nautical.

 1. Navigation by means of, or assisted by, positional information transmitted via satellite; a method or system of navigating using such information. Cf. satellite navigation n. at satellite n. Compounds 2, GPS n. at G n. Initialisms.In quot. 1970   as the name of a specific system developed by the United States Navy which first came into operation in 1964, and more commonly known as Transit, NAVSAT, or NNSS, (Navy Navigation Satellite System).

1970   Bendix Techn. Jrnl. 3 iii. 24/2   Updating of the absolute position is performed by means of SATNAV.
1972   R.R.S. Discov.: Cruise 47 (National Inst. Oceanogr. Cruise Rep. No. 52) 13   Satnav was used as the principal navigational aid except for station work on Rockall Bank.
1987   Yachting World Apr. 62/1   Sailing up the Red Sea using satnav, I was regularly obtaining from one of the satellites a fix that was over 20 miles from my calculated position.
2008   D. Metz Limits of Trav. viii. 111   Satnav has more potential benefit than has yet been recognized.

1970—2008(Hide quotations)


 2. An electronic device which uses positional information from satellites to assist in vehicle navigation; (now esp.) one comprising a screen designed to be mounted on or in the dashboard of a car or other road vehicle, and which typically offers visual and audio directions to the driver for a particular route.

1981   New Scientist 5 Feb. 340/1   It may well be the spectre of Japan that has hastened the downward movement of the prices of satellite navigation systems—satnavs—to the sailor.
1995   I have given up my Sextant in rec.boats (Usenet newsgroup) 20 Mar.   When satnavs became affordable, I bought one and gave away my plastic sextant.
2015   Courier (Perth & Perthshire ed.) 10 July (What's On section) 3/1   Switch off your sat nav and follow the appropriate signage.

1981—2015(Hide quotations)



  General attributive.

1972   G. G. Shor & S. M. Smith Preliminary Cruise Rep. (U.S. Office Naval Res.) 4   The source of the problem with the SatNav system was finally found.
1982   MotorBoating Jan. 90/2   Just two months ago, Raytheon announced its new sat-nav unit—$4,995 with interfaces to accept, automatically, speed and heading information.
1991   Cruising World May 71/3   The SatNav receiver calculates a line of position based on the range differences from the satellite.
2005   New Scientist 19 Feb. 25/1   A nine-month trial using a train on the UK rail network..showed that the satnav technology could successfully replace trackside signals.
2018   Autocar (Nexis) 7 Mar. 35   What a privilege to be zipping easily along with the traffic, radio playing quietly and our next destination on the satnav screen.

1972—2018(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).

In other dictionaries: