noun, often attributive
avi·​a·​tion | \ ˌā-vē-ˈā-shən , 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 … the basic division of human flight into aviation (heavier-than-air flight) with its aviators, and aerostation (lighter-than-air flight) with its aeronauts. — Charles H. Gibbs-Smith
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

John Cox, an aviation consultant, is confident investigators will figure out why the plane broke apart. Amy Taxin, The Seattle Times, "Neighbors: Plane ‘sounded like a missile’ as it broke apart," 5 Feb. 2019 Learning about aviation can help tame a fear of flying for some people. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "How to Finally Overcome Your Fear of Flying," 31 Jan. 2019 Cash-rich lessors have bid up planes so much that monthly rental payments as a share of the price paid for the popular Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320-200 liners fell below 0.7% in 2018, according to aviation advisory firm IBA—a new low. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Aircraft Investors Should Be More Grounded," 25 Jan. 2019 Perhaps George has picked up a passion for aviation from his father, a former professional helicopter pilot. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince George Is Gifted a Toy Helicopter by London's Air Ambulance Charity," 9 Jan. 2019 Military space technology has not progressed nearly as far as aviation had by the middle of the last century. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Why Trump's 'Space Force' Won't — and Shouldn't — Happen," 19 June 2018 Its systems are used in pilot training, aviation security and for applications like night vision. Dana Cimilluca, WSJ, "Military-Communications Firms Harris, L3 Near Deal to Combine," 13 Oct. 2018 Tra said the exercises violated Vietnam's sovereignty and posed a threat to navigation and aviation security in the region, Vietnam's official news agency reported. Christopher Bodeen, Fox News, "Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea," 27 Aug. 2018 There is no way to attain perfect aviation security from terrorism except by grounding all airliners. John Mueller, Vox, "Airline terrorist attacks are extremely rare. It’s one reason TSA’s Quiet Skies program is a waste of money.," 4 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for aviation

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aviation

The first known use of aviation was in 1865

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More Definitions for aviation



English Language Learners Definition of aviation

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


avi·​a·​tion | \ ˌā-vē-ˈā-shən \

Kids Definition of aviation

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

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