air·lift | \ˈer-ˌlift \

Definition of airlift 

: a system of transporting cargo or passengers by aircraft often to or from an otherwise inaccessible area

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from airlift

airlift transitive verb

Examples of airlift in a Sentence

an emergency airlift to deliver supplies to the famine victims

Recent Examples on the Web

Ryan set up a GoFundMe page to pay for the airlift back to the United States and other medical expenses. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "UA student recounts sudden paralysis during trip to Spain," 3 July 2018 An airlift plan would be difficult because the cave stretches under a mountainside for up to 6 miles and varies in elevation. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Thai youth soccer team could have to dive out of caves or wait months to be rescued," 3 July 2018 First delivered to the Air Force in 1956, the C-130 remains one of the service's most important airlift platforms. Barbara Starr And Zachary Cohen, CNN, "US bombers changed course after North Korea threatened Trump summit," 18 May 2018 Head wounds sent Matt to a hospital in Juneau via airlift. Dave Quinn,, "Alaskan Bush People Star Solomon 'Bear' Brown Is 'Doing Well' After Scratching Eye in the Woods," 17 May 2018 Then come the airlift and the drifting descent, via glider, to the battleground, with a gentle whooshing sound that is to the Fortnite addict what the flick of a Bic is to a smoker. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "How Fortnite Captured Teens’ Hearts and Minds," 14 May 2018 Pentagon officials confirmed the airlift of Ahmed al Darbi, 43. Carol Rosenberg, miamiherald, "BREAKING: U.S. releases Guantánamo convict to Saudi Arabia in first transfer of Trump era | Miami Herald," 2 May 2018 Outside, an American plane used during the airlift still rests on the field. Joyce Lee, Washington Post, "Inside an enormous abandoned airport in Berlin that’s coming back to life," 17 Mar. 2018 The mission will include two Chinook helicopters for airlift operations and four armed Griffon helicopters for escort purposes. Washington Post, "Canada announces peacekeeping mission in Mali," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'airlift.' 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 airlift

1943, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about airlift

Statistics for airlift

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for airlift

The first known use of airlift was in 1943

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for airlift



English Language Learners Definition of airlift

: an occurrence in which people or things are carried to or from a place by airplanes during an emergency when other methods are not possible


air·lift | \ˈer-ˌlift \
airlifted; airlifting

Kids Definition of airlift

: to move people or cargo by aircraft usually to or from an area that cannot be reached otherwise Food was airlifted to the earthquake victims.

Other Words from airlift

airlift noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on airlift

See words that rhyme with airlift

Spanish Central: Translation of airlift

Nglish: Translation of airlift for Spanish Speakers

Comments on airlift

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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