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[hel-i-kop-ter, hee-li-] /ˈhɛl ɪˌkɒp tər, ˈhi lɪ-/
any of a class of heavier-than-air craft that are lifted and sustained in the air horizontally by rotating wings or blades turning on vertical axes through power supplied by an engine.
verb (used without object)
to fly in a helicopter.
verb (used with object)
to convey in a helicopter.
Origin of helicopter
1885-90; < French hélicoptère. See helico-, -pter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for helicopter
  • The helicopter hovered above the surface for a moment, then crashed into the water and began to sink.
  • And the fact that people are permitted to shoot any animal from a helicopter turns my stomach.
  • There's almost no other way, unless you own a helicopter.
  • For technical reasons, they had to track them with hand-held and helicopter-mounted antennas.
  • One uses onscreen touch controls, and the other lets you tilt the phone, using the accelerometers to move the helicopter.
  • If you want to get off the ground, build helicopter.
  • And this acreage has now been expanded exponentially courtesy of an on-site helicopter.
  • Conservationists start by herding elephants towards waiting trucks and ground teams, with a helicopter.
  • Toward the cool of evening the helicopter took off, vultures trailing in its wake.
  • It looks as if someone used a helicopter to take this photo.
British Dictionary definitions for helicopter


an aircraft capable of hover, vertical flight, and horizontal flight in any direction. Most get all of their lift and propulsion from the rotation of overhead blades See also autogiro
to transport (people or things) or (of people or things) to be transported by helicopter
Word Origin
C19: from French hélicoptère, from helico- + Greek pteron wing
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 helicopter

1861, from French hélicoptère "device for enabling airplanes to rise perpendicularly," thus "flying machine propelled by screws." The idea was to gain lift from spiral aerofoils, and it didn't work. Used by Jules Verne and the Wright Brothers, the word transferred to helicopters in the modern sense when those were developed in the 1920s. From Greek helix (genitive helikos) "spiral" (see helix) + pteron "wing" (see pterodactyl). Nativized in Flemish as wentelwiek "with rotary vanes."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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