• synonyms


[hev-ee-er-thuh n-air]
  1. (of an aircraft) weighing more than the air that it displaces, hence having to obtain lift by aerodynamic means.
Show More

Origin of heavier-than-air

First recorded in 1900–05
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heavier-than-air

Historical Examples

  • Wood is not employed in the construction of these heavier-than-air craft.

    Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War

    Frederick A. Talbot

  • Heavier-than-air machines have gradually popularized flying.


    Harry Vissering

  • It was, without shadow of doubt, the last word in the science and manufacture of a heavier-than-air machine.

    The Great Airship.

    F. S. Brereton

  • Not until the twentieth century did the advocates of the heavier-than-air machines show the value of their fundamental idea.

    Aircraft and Submarines

    Willis J. Abbot.

  • On his return to Paris he at once began experimenting with heavier-than-air machines.

    Aircraft and Submarines

    Willis J. Abbot.

British Dictionary definitions for heavier-than-air


  1. having a density greater than that of air
  2. of or relating to an aircraft that does not depend on buoyancy for support but gains lift from aerodynamic forces
Show More
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