Definition of area rule
: a principle used to design aircraft with minimal drag at speeds approaching and in excess of Mach 1 ◆The area rule states that the more closely the progression of the cross-sectional area of an aircraft's body from nose to tail matches the progression of the cross-sectional area of an aerodynamically smooth, idealized shape, the less drag will be generated. Called the area rule, it says that drag at high speeds is a function of an airplane's total cross-sectional area (essentially, the thickness of the fuselage). Because projections from the fuselage increase a plane's cross section, narrowing the fuselage where the wings and tail assembly attach reduces drag. — Aaron Nicodemus, Telegram and Gazette (Worcester, Massachusetts), 16 Oct. 2009; also
area–ruledadjective an area-ruled fuselage
Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:
- 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
First Known Use of area rule
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up area rule? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).