[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.

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 of heavier-than-air

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

  • 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
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