[ air-oh-dahy-nam-iks ]
See synonyms for aerodynamics on
noun(used with a singular verb)
  1. the branch of mechanics that deals with the motion of air and other gases and with the effects of such motion on bodies in the medium.: Compare aerostatics (def. 1).

Origin of aerodynamics

First recorded in 1830–40; aero- + dynamics

Other words from aerodynamics

  • aer·o·dy·nam·ic, aer·o·dy·nam·i·cal, adjective
  • aer·o·dy·nam·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use aerodynamics in a sentence

  • "We might need an aerodynamically stable hull," Wade interjected.

    Islands of Space | John W Campbell

British Dictionary definitions for aerodynamics


/ (ˌɛərəʊdaɪˈnæmɪks) /

  1. (functioning as singular) the study of the dynamics of gases, esp of the forces acting on a body passing through air: Compare aerostatics (def. 1)

Derived forms of aerodynamics

  • aerodynamic, adjective
  • aerodynamically, adverb
  • aerodynamicist, noun

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

Scientific definitions for aerodynamics


[ âr′ō-dī-nămĭks ]

  1. The study of the movement of air and other gases. Aerodynamics includes the study of the interactions of air with moving objects, such as airplanes, and of the effects of moving air on stationary objects, such as buildings.

a closer look

The two primary forces in aerodynamics are lift and drag. Lift refers to (usually upward) forces perpendicular to the direction of motion of an object traveling through the air. For example, airplane wings are designed so that their movement through the air creates an area of low pressure above the wing and an area of high pressure beneath it; the pressure difference produces the lift needed for flight. This effect is typical of airfoil design. Drag forces are parallel and opposite to the object's direction of motion and are caused largely by friction. Large wings can create a significant amount of lift, but they do so with the expense of generating a great deal of drag. Spoilers that are extended on airplane wings upon the vehicle's landing exploit this tradeoff by making the wings capable of high lift even at low speeds; low landing speeds then still provide enough lift for a gentle touchdown. Aeronautical engineers need to take into account such factors as the speed and altitude at which their designs will fly (lower air pressures at high altitudes reduce both lift and drag) in order to optimally balance lift and drag in varying conditions.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for aerodynamics


The branch of science devoted to the study of the flow of gases around solid objects. It is especially important in the design of cars and airplanes, which move through the air.

Notes for aerodynamics

A vehicle that has been built to minimize friction with the air is said to be aerodynamically designed.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.