(often initial capital letter) a large dirigible balloon consisting of a long, cylindrical, covered framework containing compartments or cells filled with gas, and of various structures for holding the engines, passengers, etc.
any rigid airship or dirigible.

1900; after Count von Zeppelin

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[tsep-uh-leen, tsep-uh-leen; English zep-uh-lin]
Count Ferdinand von [fer-di-nahnt fuhn] , 1838–1917, German general and aeronaut: designer and manufacturer of the zeppelin.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
zeppelin (ˈzɛpəlɪn)
(sometimes capital) a large cylindrical rigid airship built from 1900 to carry passengers, and used in World War I for bombing and reconnaissance
[C20: named after Count von Zeppelin]

Zeppelin (German ˈtsɛpəliːn)
Count Ferdinand von (ˈfɛrdinant fɔn). 1838--1917, German aeronautical pioneer, who designed and manufactured airships (zeppelins)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1900, from Ger. Zeppelin, short for Zeppelinschiff "Zeppelin ship," after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917), Ger. general who perfected its design.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Seventy-four years after the zeppelin, another gas giant arises.
Apparently as energy costs rise, there's a renewal of interest in zeppelin technology.
Except for a photograph of a zeppelin, it was blank.
Once agile boats now seemed to have the turning radius of a zeppelin when pulling planner boards.
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