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[awr-nuh-thop-ter] /ˌɔr nəˈθɒp tər/
a heavier-than-air craft designed to be propelled through the air by flapping wings.
< French ornithoptère (1908), equivalent to ornitho- ornitho- + -ptère < Greek -pteros -pterous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ornithopter
  • Unfortunately, there is one thing that ornithopter enthusiasts often overlook-namely, the effects of scale.
British Dictionary definitions for ornithopter


a heavier-than-air craft sustained in and propelled through the air by flapping wings Also called orthopter
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 ornithopter

1908, from French ornithoptère (1908), a machine designed to fly be mechanical flapping of wings, from ornitho- + Greek pteron "wing" (see pterodactyl). A mode of flight considered promising at least since Leonardo's day.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for ornithopter

machine designed to fly by the flapping of its wings in imitation of birds. The wooden bird said to have been made about 400 BC by Archytas of Tarentum is one of the earliest examples. The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus involves man's use of wings in the manner of birds. Leonardo da Vinci made many drawings and models of such aircraft in the late 15th century. Although a few short flights have been recorded, ornithopters remain impractical.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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