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heli-

1
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variant of helio- before a vowel: helianthus.
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Other definitions for heli- (2 of 2)

heli-2

a combining form representing helicopter in compound words: helidrop; helilift; helitaxi.

Origin of heli-

2
By analysis of helicopter as heli- (an assumed combining form with -i-) + -copter;cf. copter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

WORDS THAT USE HELI-

What does heli- mean?

Heli- is a combining form used like a prefix that has two distinct senses.

The first of these senses is “sun,” and this form of heli- is occasionally used in a variety of scientific and technical terms. Heli- comes from Greek hḗlios, meaning “sun.” The Latin cognate, sōl, is the source of several words related to the sun, such as solar and solstice.

The second of these senses is “helicopter,” and this form of heli- is occasionally used in a variety of technical terms. Heli- comes from the word helicopter in a bit of a roundabout way. The word helicopter comes from French helicopètre and is a combination of two forms: helico-, meaning “spiral,” and -pter, meaning “one with wings.” However, helicopter is abbreviated using only the first syllable, heli-. Find out more about the word helicopter at our entry for the word.

What are variants of heli- with the sense “sun”?

Heli- is a variant of helio-, which loses its -o- when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use article for helio-.

Examples of heli- with the sense “sun”

An example of a scientific term that features the form heli- to mean “sun” is helianthus, “any composite plant of the genus Helianthus, comprising the sunflowers.” Helianthus in English comes from Latin Helianthus, which uses the Latin equivalent form of heli-.

The heli- part of the word means “sun,” while -anthus means “having flowers,” from Greek ánthos. Helianthus literally translates to “having sun flowers.”

What are some words that use the combining form heli-?

What are some other forms that heli- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

Encephalitis is a medical condition of inflammation of the brain. Given the meaning of heli-, what is the cause of heliencephalitis?

Examples of heli- with the sense “helicopter”

One word that features the combining form heli- to mean “helicopter” is heliborne, “transported by helicopter.”

While heli- here stands for “helicopter,” the -borne portion of the word comes from an abbreviation of airborne, meaning “carried by the air.” Heliborne literally means “carried by a helicopter.”

What are some words that use the combining form heli-?

What are some other forms that heli- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

Some folks don’t travel like the rest of us; they take helitaxis to get from place to place, especially in dense cities. With the meaning of the combining for heli- in mind, what is a helitaxi?

How to use heli- in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for heli-

heli-

combining form
helicopterheliport

Word Origin for heli-

C20: shortened from helicopter
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
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