noun, often attributive
avi·​a·​tion | \ ˌā-vē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce aviation (audio) , ˌa- \

Definition of aviation

1 : the operation of aircraft a pioneer in the early days of aviation a career in aviation sometimes, specifically : the operation of heavier-than-air aircraft Fascinated from that moment on by aviation, [John] Montgomery pursued pioneering experiments in the design of a heavier-than-air glider … — Kevin Starr
2 : military airplanes carrier-based aviation
3 : airplane manufacture, development, and design By that time, [Theodore P.] Wright already had established himself as a leading figure in American aviation.— Michael Rothschild

Examples of aviation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The displays of rule-bucking intransigence are described in more than 150 aviation safety reports filed with the federal government since the start of the pandemic and reviewed by The Washington Post. Michael Laris, Anchorage Daily News, "Sneezed on, cussed at, ignored: Airline workers battle mask resistance with scant government backup," 2 Jan. 2021 Several other incidents involving passengers who showed COVID-19 symptoms on flights have been reported to an aviation safety reporting database operated by NASA. Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times, "Coughing, sneezing, vomiting: Visibly ill people aren’t being kept off planes," 1 Jan. 2021 Petitt has been a pilot for more than 40 years and has a doctorate in aviation safety. Star Tribune, "Labor Dept. judge rules Delta retaliated against whistleblower pilot," 29 Dec. 2020 From Boeing to bailouts, the aviation industry had one of its worst years in 2020, a radical comedown after a run of profits right up to coronavirus lockdowns. NBC News, "2020 was brutal for airlines. Next year could be even trickier.," 28 Dec. 2020 The Transportation Department distributes hundreds of billions of dollars in federal highway funding and regulates aviation, railroads and busing. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "'The Electoral College has spoken'," 15 Dec. 2020 John Cox, an aviation safety consultant and former airline pilot, said some customers will need convincing before getting on the plane because of the lapses uncovered. Dallas News, "The 737 Max could be ungrounded soon but airlines aren’t rushing to put it back in the air," 13 Nov. 2020 The legislation also would provide the FAA an extra $30 million a year to beef up its own engineering and technical teams and calls for some two dozen other changes to the nation’s aviation safety regime. Washington Post, "House bill would give FAA new oversight powers over Boeing after 737 Max crashes," 29 Sep. 2020 Europe’s top aviation-safety official said that pilot rustiness following global groundings at the height of the coronavirus crisis may have been a factor in the fatal crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane. Siddharth Vikram Philip, Bloomberg.com, "Pakistan Crash Pilots Rusty After Lockdown, Safety Head Suggests," 15 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aviation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aviation

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aviation

French, from Latin avis

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Time Traveler for aviation

Time Traveler

The first known use of aviation was in 1865

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Statistics for aviation

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aviation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aviation. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for aviation


How to pronounce aviation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aviation

: the business or practice of flying airplanes, helicopters, etc.


avi·​a·​tion | \ ˌā-vē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce aviation (audio) \

Kids Definition of aviation

1 : the flying of aircraft
2 : the designing and making of aircraft

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Comments on aviation

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