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[air-foil] /ˈɛərˌfɔɪl/
noun, Aeronautics
any surface, as a wing, aileron, or stabilizer, designed to aid in lifting or controlling an aircraft by making use of the air currents through which it moves.
Origin of airfoil
1920-25; air1 + foil2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for airfoil
  • In fact, a sphere disrupts air flow, and has about ten times the drag resistance of a teardrop-shaped airfoil.
  • Not only can a coating of ice add significant weight to a plane, but it can also change the aerodynamics of the plane's airfoil.
  • Optical lift is different from the aerodynamic lift created by an airfoil.
  • Over an airfoil, the static pressure decreases up to the point of maximum thickness.
British Dictionary definitions for airfoil


a cross section of an aileron, wing, tailplane, or rotor blade


(US & Canadian) a cross section of an aileron, wing, tailplane, or rotor blade Also called aerofoil
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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Word Origin and History for airfoil

1922, U.S. form of aerofoil.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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airfoil in Science
A structure having a shape that provides lift, propulsion, stability, or directional control in a flying object. An aircraft wing provides lift by causing air to pass at a higher speed over the wing than below it, resulting in greater pressure below than above. Propellers are airfoils that are spun rapidly to provide propulsion. See more at Bernoulli effect, See Note at aerodynamics.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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