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[hel-i-kop-ter, hee-li-] /ˈhɛl ɪˌkɒp tər, ˈhi lɪ-/
any of a class of heavier-than-air craft that are lifted and sustained in the air horizontally by rotating wings or blades turning on vertical axes through power supplied by an engine.
verb (used without object)
to fly in a helicopter.
verb (used with object)
to convey in a helicopter.
Origin of helicopter
From the French word hélicoptère, dating back to 1885-90. See helico-, -pter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for helicopter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The sun was an hour high when the helicopter appeared to hunt for them by day.

    Invasion William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • The droning hum of the helicopter came across the broken ground.

    Invasion William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • Dirk then stopped the plane and held it poised in the air with the helicopter.

  • They might throw him in jail or something might happen to the time unit or the helicopter.

    Project Mastodon Clifford Donald Simak
  • The helicopter made a half-turn of the camp and came rapidly to Earth.

    Project Mastodon Clifford Donald Simak
British Dictionary definitions for helicopter


an aircraft capable of hover, vertical flight, and horizontal flight in any direction. Most get all of their lift and propulsion from the rotation of overhead blades See also autogiro
to transport (people or things) or (of people or things) to be transported by helicopter
Word Origin
C19: from French hélicoptère, from helico- + Greek pteron wing
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
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Word Origin and History for helicopter

1861, from French hélicoptère "device for enabling airplanes to rise perpendicularly," thus "flying machine propelled by screws." The idea was to gain lift from spiral aerofoils, and it didn't work. Used by Jules Verne and the Wright Brothers, the word transferred to helicopters in the modern sense when those were developed in the 1920s. From Greek helix (genitive helikos) "spiral" (see helix) + pteron "wing" (see pterodactyl). Nativized in Flemish as wentelwiek "with rotary vanes."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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