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[air-lift] /ˈɛərˌlɪft/
noun, Also, air lift
a system for transporting persons or cargo by aircraft, especially in an emergency.
the persons or cargo so transported.
the act or process of transporting such a load.
a pump for raising liquids by the pressure of air forced into the pump chamber.
verb (used with object)
to transport (persons or cargo) by airlift.
of or relating to an airlift or airlifts:
to increase the army's airlift capacity.
Origin of airlift
1940-45; air1 + lift Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for airlift
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How long do you think it'd take, with the equipment you have, to airlift all of Jonkvank's loyal troops into the city?

    Ullr Uprising Henry Beam Piper
  • An airlift of supplies dropped by parachute was being organized.

    Prologue to an Analogue Leigh Richmond
  • The need to respond on a moment's notice adds to the value of airlift and prepositioned ships.

    Shock and Awe Harlan K. Ullman
  • The Soviet effort to capture Berlin by blockade was thwarted by the courageous Allied airlift.

  • It looked as helpless as isolated Berlin did before the first airlift proved what men and planes could do in the way of transport.

    Space Tug Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for airlift


the transportation by air of passengers, troops, cargo, etc, esp when other routes are blocked
(transitive) to transport by an airlift
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 airlift

also air-lift, 1893 as a type of pumping device; 1945 in the sense "transportation of supplies by air," from air (n.1) + lift (n.). As a verb by 1949; popularized in reference to the response to the West Berlin blockade. Related: Air-lifted; air-lifting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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