ornithopter

[awr-nuh-thop-ter]
noun
a heavier-than-air craft designed to be propelled through the air by flapping wings.

Origin:
< French ornithoptère (1908), equivalent to ornitho- ornitho- + -ptère < Greek -pteros -pterous

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Collins
World English Dictionary
ornithopter (ˈɔːnɪˌθɒptə)
 
n
Also called: orthopter a heavier-than-air craft sustained in and propelled through the air by flapping wings

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ornithopter
1908, from Fr. ornithoptère, a machine designed to fly be mechanical flapping of wings, from ornitho- (q.v.) + Gk. pteron "wing" (see petition). A mode of flight considered promising at least since Leonardo's day.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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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Example sentences
Unfortunately, there is one thing that ornithopter enthusiasts often overlook-namely, the effects of scale.
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