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 An initial report from Iran’s civil aviation organization says the plane had an unspecified technical program that caused the crash, according to Reuters. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "A timeline of the Ukraine plane crash and Iran’s conflicting statements," 12 Jan. 2020 The 21-year-old suspect, who was also killed, was a member of the Saudi Air Force and an aviation student at the base. CBS News, "Saudi service members to be expelled after investigation into Florida base shooting," 12 Jan. 2020 Over the 15 years since, Richard Abaloufia of the Teal Group, an aviation consultancy, says $78bn was returned to shareholders, doing wonders for Boeing’s share price. The Economist, "Schumpeter The last GE Man," 11 Jan. 2020 Iran’s aerial defense forces, worried about possible American reprisals for the missile attack, were on alert — even though commercial aviation in Iran was allowed to proceed normally. New York Times, "Furor in Iran and Abroad After Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Jetliner," 11 Jan. 2020 Iran’s aerial defense forces, worried about possible American reprisals for the missile attack, were on alert — even though commercial aviation was allowed to proceed. Anton Troianovski, BostonGlobe.com, "Furor in Iran and abroad after Tehran admits downing Ukrainian jetliner," 11 Jan. 2020 Olsen previously worked for Homeland Security, working with the Cuban government to improve human rights, reach common ground on civil aviation and negotiating the release of political prisoners under the Obama Administration. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Democratic congressional candidates take on Trump, Rep. Dan Crenshaw," 10 Jan. 2020 Planes hang overhead at this museum that celebrates all things aviation. Deborah Fleck, Dallas News, "Looking for winter family fun? Try Dallas-Fort Worth’s museums, aquariums and indoor play places," 10 Jan. 2020 In contrast, Asia’s best airports benefit from direct support from national governments who view aviation infrastructure with a broader perspective, as a critical component of economic development strategy. Fortune, "The Case for Designing Beautiful Airports: It’s About the Experience," 7 Jan. 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.

See More

First Known Use of aviation

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aviation

French, from Latin avis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aviation

Time Traveler for aviation

Time Traveler

The first known use of aviation was in 1865

See more words from the same year

Statistics for aviation

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aviation.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aviation. Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aviation

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


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!