[ lan-ding ]
/ ˈlæn dɪŋ /
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the act of a person or thing that lands: The pilot brought his plane in for a landing.
a place where persons or goods are landed, as from a ship: The boat moored at the landing.
  1. a platform between flights of stairs.
  2. the floor at the head or foot of a flight of stairs.
  1. the overlap of two plates or planks, as in a clinker-built shell.
  2. the distance between the center of a rivet hole and the edge of the plate or shape into which it is cut.
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Origin of landing

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at land, -ing1


post·land·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does landing mean?

Landing is the act of returning to the ground after having been in flight or up in the air. It can also be used to refer to the act of returning to the land after having been in water.

Landing also commonly refers to an instance of doing this. This especially involves aircraft, as in That was a rough landing. But it can also be applied to a person, as in She’ll have to stick the landing if she wants a perfect score. 

Landing can also mean a place where ships can dock.

It can also refer to the floor at the top of a flight of stairs or the platform between two flights of stairs. The landing often has a bigger surface area than the steps and is usually positioned between flights when they change directions.

The word landing comes is also the continuous tense (-ing form) of the verb land, as in We will be landing shortly.

Example: I’m much more nervous during the landing than at takeoff.

Where does landing come from?

The first records of the word landing as a noun come from the 1400s. Though today it’s most commonly associated with airplanes, it was first used in the context of ships (not surprisingly, since planes weren’t invented until much later).

When landing is used in the context of an aircraft, it’s often paired with a word that describes how it happened, as in hard landing, crash landing, or water landing. A landing strip is a flat stretch where planes can land and take off. A landing pad is a place for a helicopter to land and take off. A landing page is a page on a website designed to be the first place users go when coming to the site, such as from clicking an offsite link. This term likens the page to a landing strip or landing pad where users will “land” upon visiting the site.

In gymnastics, to stick the landing is to land in a way so that your feet stay on the ground without having to take an extra step. The phrase stick the landing is now sometimes used as a slang term meaning to flawlessly perform the last action of some task.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to landing?

  • postlanding (adjective)

What are some synonyms for landing?

What are some words that share a root or word element with landing

What are some words that often get used in discussing landing?

How is landing used in real life?

The word landing is often associated with what happens after flying, but it’s commonly used in many contexts.



Try using landing!

True or False? 

Landing is always used in the context of aircraft and never to refer to ships coming to land.

How to use landing in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for landing

/ (ˈlændɪŋ) /

  1. the act of coming to land, esp after a flight or sea voyage
  2. (as modifier)landing place
a place of disembarkation
the floor area at the top of a flight of stairs or between two flights of stairs
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