[ air-pleyn ]
/ ˈɛərˌpleɪn /


a heavier-than-air aircraft kept aloft by the upward thrust exerted by the passing air on its fixed wings and driven by propellers, jet propulsion, etc.
any similar heavier-than-air aircraft, as a glider or helicopter.
Also especially British, aeroplane.

Origin of airplane

1870–75, for an earlier sense; alteration of aeroplane, with air1 replacing aero-
Related formspro·air·plane, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for airplane

British Dictionary definitions for airplane


/ (ˈɛəˌpleɪn) /


US and Canadian a heavier-than-air powered flying vehicle with fixed wingsAlso called: aeroplane
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

Word Origin and History for airplane



1907, from air (n.1) + plane (n.1); though the original references are British, the word caught on in American English, where it largely superseded earlier aeroplane (1873 in this sense and still common in British English). Aircraft "airplane" also is from 1907. Lord Byron, speculatively, used air-vessel (1822).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper