A joystick is a handle-like device that you use to control your character in a video game. If you want your character to move left, you generally move the joystick to the left.

Originally, a joystick was the control an airplane pilot uses to adjust the movements of the plane — by moving the joystick back and forth, the pilot adjusts the roll, and moving it up and down controls the pitch of the plane's nose. Joystick was aviators' slang for this lever, and the makers of the earliest video games, in the 1970s, adopted the word for their similarly-shaped control.

Definitions of joystick

n a manual control consisting of a vertical handle that can move freely in two directions; used as an input device to computers or to devices controlled by computers

Type of:
control, controller
a mechanism that controls the operation of a machine
data input device, input device
a device that can be used to insert data into a computer or other computational device

n a lever used by a pilot to control the ailerons and elevators of an airplane

control stick, stick
Type of:
a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum

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