ae·​ri·​al | \ ˈer-ē-əl How to pronounce aerial (audio) , ā-ˈir-ē-əl \

Definition of aerial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or occurring in the air or atmosphere the aerial acrobatics of circus performers
b : existing or growing in the air rather than in the ground or in water aerial plants
c(1) : high in the air aerial spires
(2) : capable of being raised high in the air The hydraulic aerial platform can accommodate up to five firefighters and even a wheelchair.— Allan Stein — see also aerial ladder
d : operating or operated overhead on elevated cables or rails an aerial tram
2 : suggestive of air: such as
a : lacking substance aerial distinctions
b : fanciful, ethereal … visions of aerial joy …— P. B. Shelley
3a : of or relating to aircraft aerial navigation aerial combat
b : designed for use in, taken from, or operating from or against aircraft aerial photographs/photography
c : effected by means of aircraft aerial transportation a city subjected to aerial bombardment aerial views aerial spraying
4 American football : of, relating to, or gained by the forward pass aerial touchdowns a team known for its aerial attack


aer·​i·​al | \ ˈer-ē-əl How to pronounce aerial (audio) \

Definition of aerial (Entry 2 of 2)

2 American football : forward pass
3 : an acrobatic maneuver performed (as by skiers and gymnasts) in the air also aerials plural : a ski event featuring such maneuvers

Other Words from aerial


aerially \ ˈer-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce aerial (audio) , ā-​ˈir-​ē-​ə-​lē \ adverb

Did you know?

Shakespeare himself may have coined this word, in Othello, and later he gave the name Ariel to the famous air-spirit character in The Tempest. An aerialist is an acrobat who performs high above the audience. In painting, aerial perspective is the way an artist creates the illusion that a mountain or city is far away (something that early painters only slowly learned how to do), usually by making it slightly misty and bluish gray—as if seen through miles of air. An aerial work platform, or "cherry picker", supports a worker at a high elevation on the end of a crane. And aerial itself can be used as a noun, meaning a TV antenna, a forward pass in football, or a high-flying stunt performed by a skateboarder or snowboarder.

Examples of aerial in a Sentence

Adjective the spectacular aerial acrobatics of the circus performers Noun She tried a new aerial in her last competition.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective National Geographic recognizes that capturing aerial footage from fighter jets has consequences for the environment. Tony Bradley, Forbes, 2 July 2022 Auto crimes investigators from the Atlanta Police Department backed up state troopers responding to a street racing call Saturday evening, according to aerial footage of the incident released Thursday. Matt Bruce, ajc, 20 May 2022 Multiple homes were seen ablaze in parts of the Laguna Hills neighborhood in Orange County, California, according to aerial footage from CNN affiliate KABC. Taylor Romine, CNN, 11 May 2022 In aerial footage of the incident, LACOFD units can be seen swarming the north side of Universal Studios, the only area that the outage impacted, the publication adds, noting that a Harry Potter ride was also affected. Charmaine Patterson,, 7 Apr. 2022 Wiebe flies a drone for aerial footage but lands when an eagle shows too much interest. Peter Wayne Moe, Longreads, 25 Feb. 2022 One Liberty tool uses a combination of aerial imagery and machine learning to define buildings’ footprints and give a more accurate impression of risk, which then can be shared with clients to help shore up their defenses. Richard Vanderford, WSJ, 24 June 2022 Schmidt created a wildfire hazard map for Anchorage that uses 2014 NASA aerial imagery data, showing which neighborhoods are most at risk for wildfire based on the kinds of vegetation in each area, and how embers might travel to ignite other fires. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 28 May 2022 Creativity will be key for an aerial shots because drones and selfie-sticks aren't allowed. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 23 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In what appeared to be a sign of Russian security concerns after several Ukrainian attacks on its territory, a traditional aerial flyover was canceled. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 In this aerial, a house is on fire in Carbon, Texas, on Friday. NBC News, 19 Mar. 2022 Olivia Giaccio of the United States attempts an aerial during her super final run at a World Cup moguls skiing event at Deer Valley Resort, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Jan. 2022 Fekete added a yard at center, which was followed by the first aerial of the game. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2021 There’s even an aerial of the city with the model wearing one of Minkoff’s studded leather jackets. Sharon Edelson, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Cleveland didn’t delay getting the scoring under way as Cliff Lewis, starting his first game at home since his days at Lakewood High School, pitched a 19-yard aerial to Mac Speedie with only three minutes and 45 seconds of the first period gone. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2021 The aerial is a progressive maneuver during which the surfer gains speed and uses the wave height to project and launch above the lip of the wave. Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2021 More than 650 feet of cable arrived, and inmates helped run it from the school to the prison’s central aerial. Elena Becatoros, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Feb. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aerial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of aerial


circa 1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aerial


Latin āerius (borrowed from Greek āérios, derivative of āer-, aḗr air entry 1) + -al entry 1


derivative of aerial entry 1

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Time Traveler for aerial

Time Traveler

The first known use of aerial was circa 1545

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Dictionary Entries Near aerial



aerial blue

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aerial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for aerial


ae·​ri·​al | \ ˈer-ē-əl How to pronounce aerial (audio) , ā-ˈir-ē-əl \

Kids Definition of aerial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : performed or occurring in the air We were amazed by the aerial stunts of the circus performers.
2 : of aircraft aerial navigation
3 : taken from, used in, or performed using an airplane aerial camera aerial warfare


aer·​i·​al | \ ˈer-ē-əl How to pronounce aerial (audio) \

Kids Definition of aerial (Entry 2 of 2)


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