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  1. (often initial capital letter) a large dirigible balloon consisting of a long, cylindrical, covered framework containing compartments or cells filled with gas, and of various structures for holding the engines, passengers, etc.
  2. any rigid airship or dirigible.

Origin of zeppelin

First recorded in 1900; after Count von Zeppelin


[tsep-uh-leen, tsep-uh-leen; English zep-uh-lin]
  1. Count Fer·di·nand von [fer-di-nahnt fuh n] /ˈfɛr dɪˌnɑnt fən/, 1838–1917, German general and aeronaut: designer and manufacturer of the zeppelin.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for zeppelin


  1. (sometimes capital) a large cylindrical rigid airship built from 1900 to carry passengers, and used in World War I for bombing and reconnaissance

Word Origin for zeppelin

C20: named after Count von Zeppelin


  1. Count Ferdinand von (ˈfɛrdinant fɔn). 1838–1917, German aeronautical pioneer, who designed and manufactured airships (zeppelins)
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

Word Origin and History for zeppelin

1900, from German Zeppelin, short for Zeppelinschiff "Zeppelin ship," after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917), German general who perfected its design.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper