aero·​dyne ˈer-ə-ˌdīn How to pronounce aerodyne (audio)
: a heavier-than-air aircraft (such as an airplane, helicopter, or glider) compare aerostat

Word History


aero- + -dyne (clipped from the base of Greek dýnasthai "to have the capacity (to), be capable of," dýnamis "power") — more at dynamic entry 1

Note: The clipping of dynam- to a single syllable is presumably to put it in line with the similar monosyllabic terminations of other terms beginning with aero- and associated with artificial flight, such as aerostat and aeroplane. The term was apparently coined by the Canadian engineer Wallace Rupert Trumbull (1870-1954), and was introduced in a letter to Scientific American (vol. 95, no. 12, September 22, 1906, p. 211): "Properly speaking an airplane can only be one of the parts, and not the whole, of an aeronef; for aeroplanes are used in kites, in soaring machines, and in aerodynes, which is the term I wish to propose to denote aeroplane-supported machines, driven by mechanical power (i.e., by a prime mover). The Greek roots of aerodyne are obvious …The word aerodyne should be capable of international acceptance, and I would therefore suggest that in future the subdivisions of aeronef be: helicopter, orthopter, soaring machine, and aerodyne …. W. R. Trumbull, Rothesay, N.B., Canada, September 8, 1906 [italics as in original]."

First Known Use

circa 1906, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aerodyne was circa 1906

Dictionary Entries Near aerodyne

Cite this Entry

“Aerodyne.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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