au·​to·​gi·​ro ˌȯ-tō-ˈjī-(ˌ)rō How to pronounce autogiro (audio)
variants or autogyro
plural autogiros
: a rotary-wing aircraft that employs a propeller for forward motion and a freely rotating rotor for lift

Illustration of autogiro

Illustration of autogiro

Examples of autogiro in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1938, Congress approved legislation intended to rescue the autogiro industry. Alice George, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Jan. 2023 Two years after the autogiro’s 1931 triumphs, its commercial market collapsed. Alice George, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Jan. 2023 Gyrocopters: 1939 to 1940s The autogiro, a single-person helicopter-ish vehicle, was invented in the early 1920s by a Spanish engineer named Juan de law Cierva. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 18 Jan. 2019 The Autogyro Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva invented and first flew his autogiro in Madrid in January 1923. Alex Davies, WIRED, 3 July 2014

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'autogiro.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Spanish, from auto- auto- + giro "turn, rotation," going back to Latin gyrus "circular course, circle, ring" — more at gyre entry 1

Note: The first practical rotorcraft, dubbed in Spanish the autogiro, was developed by the self-taught aeronautical engineer Juan de la Cierva (1895-1936) in 1923. The name was later registered as a trademark in the U.S. by the Pitcairn Aircraft Company.

First Known Use

1907, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of autogiro was in 1907

Dictionary Entries Near autogiro

Cite this Entry

“Autogiro.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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