aerial

adjective
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 : high in the air aerial spires
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

aerial

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from aerial

Adjective

aerially \ -​ə-​lē How to pronounce aerially (audio) \ 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

The clammy gray walls of the bunker are still hung with military maps and aerial photos of Soviet missile silos faded from decades of salt air. Tony Perrottet, WSJ, "A Weirdly Fascinating Cold-War Tour of Havana," 20 Nov. 2018 Civil liberties groups have argued such programs invade the right to privacy, and some put the technology the same category as cellphone tracking and aerial surveillance. Yvonne Wenger, baltimoresun.com, "Police used facial recognition technology to help identify uncooperative suspect in Capital Gazette shooting," 29 June 2018 Preventing a camera-happy neighbor from snapping low-angle aerial photos of your home, by contrast, is not so cut and dried. Geoff Manaugh, The Atlantic, "Drone Cops Take Flight in Los Angeles," 8 June 2018 Old aerial photos had traced roads extending from some sites. April Reese, Science | AAAS, "Drilling boom threatens web of ancient roads in Southwest," 16 May 2018 Israel has also exposed an unusual amount of additional intelligence material, from grainy aerial photos of Iranian drones to the Iranian nuclear archive captured in a daring Mossad operation. New York Times, "For Netanyahu, Vindication and New Risk After Trump’s Iran Decision," 8 May 2018 Behind her, Blue Origin showed aerial photos of the Cape facilities. Paul Brinkmann, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin updates progress on Cape rocket facilities," 30 Apr. 2018 In a vintage aerial photo of Curtis Park, the home can be picked out easily; there's not much near it except the massive Union Pacific railroad yards. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Think Sacramento feels like Iowa? They'd agree | The Sacramento Bee," 21 Apr. 2018 An aerial photo of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot hangs in his office, right in front of the 76-year-old lawyer's desk. Ivana Hrynkiw, AL.com, "Former James Earl Ray attorney: "Dr. King just wasn't on his radar screen"," 4 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cassidy also offers after-school enrichment classes such as cooking, martial arts, circus arts (on their own aerial silks), and more. Nadine Jolie Courtney, Town & Country, "These Preschools Are the Ivy League of Early Education," 11 Oct. 2016 In 2016, incredible aerial images were released showing an uncontacted tribe that experts warn could be in danger of being wiped out. James Rogers, Fox News, "Incredible drone footage shows isolated Amazon tribe," 24 Aug. 2018 This type of aerial-advertising would have to be approved by all kinds of regulatory agencies, and gaining that type of approval would ultimately take a long time. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Russian Startup Wants to Project Giant Billboards in Space," 18 Jan. 2019 The eagle landed on one of the aerials after fire officials set it up, and stayed put for less than a minute. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Eagle perches on Minnesota 9/11 flag display: See the photo," 11 Sep. 2018 When the whirlwind of the Winter Olympics spins to a close this weekend, the host city, Pyeongchang, South Korea, will settle down to a life beyond aerial flips, halfpipe pretzels and metronomic North Korean cheerleaders. Brook Larmer, New York Times, "South Korea’s Most Dangerous Enemy: Demographics," 20 Feb. 2018 Warring parties have deliberately decreased access to food, most notably Saudi Arabia, which has established aerial and naval blockades against a country that imports 90 percent of its food. Abigail Higgins, Vox, "The World Bank and tech companies want to use AI to predict famine," 29 Sep. 2018 Over the last few months, the department has quietly spent about $70,000 to purchase 17 drones, known formally as unmanned aerial systems. Allie Morris, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas Department of Public Safety launches new drone program," 15 Feb. 2018 In the area of precision agriculture, there’s a great deal of work being done that would allow farmers to fly over their fields to determine which plants are healthy and which aren’t, which waters are needed to do aerial spraying. Angela Chen, The Verge, "A retired Navy captain explains how drones will shape the future of war," 5 Dec. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of aerial

Adjective

circa 1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aerial

Adjective

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

Noun

derivative of aerial entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aerial

Statistics for aerial

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aerial

The first known use of aerial was circa 1545

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aerial

aerial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of aerial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: performed in the air
: performed using an airplane : taken or seen from an airplane

aerial

noun

English Language Learners Definition of aerial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a difficult movement of the body performed by an athlete (such as a skier) in the air

aerial

adjective
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

aerial

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

Kids Definition of aerial (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on aerial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aerial

Spanish Central: Translation of aerial

Nglish: Translation of aerial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aerial for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aerial

Comments on aerial

What made you want to look up aerial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to boil down or concentrate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!