[ hev-ee-er-thuhn-air ]

  1. (of an aircraft) weighing more than the air that it displaces, hence having to obtain lift by aerodynamic means.

Origin of heavier-than-air

First recorded in 1900–05

Words Nearby heavier-than-air

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use heavier-than-air in a sentence

  • Altogether, it was not until the nineteenth century that any real progress toward flight in a heavier-than-air machine was made.

    The Romance of Aircraft | Lawrence Yard Smith
  • The huge machine was christened the Langley after one of the early experimenters with the heavier-than-air machine.

    The Romance of Aircraft | Lawrence Yard Smith
  • 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
  • He showed that a heavier-than-air machine would sustain itself in the air if it could only be driven fast enough.

    American Men of Mind | Burton E. Stevenson
  • It would seem to be equally essential in the case of heavier-than-air machines, but this point is still debated.

    A History of Aeronautics | E. Charles Vivian

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

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