flying wing


: a tailless aircraft that has the form of a left and right wing joined together at the midline with little or no apparent fuselage
Engineers call it a flying wing, or "blended wing body". Gone is the familiar cylindrical fuselage … . Instead, the craft has a pair of thick, swept-back wings with the engines embedded inside. The tail is also gone, replaced by gyroscopes and raised "winglets" that help keep the plane stable.Bennett Daviss, New Scientist, 24 Feb. 2007
As expected, the B-2 was a flying wing, a type that Northrop's founder, Jack Northrop, pioneered in the 1940's. Engineers had long known that flying wings, which lack tail fins, rudders and elevators, reflect only small radar echoes from head-on.Malcolm W. Browne, New York Times, 14 May 1991
Some aeronautical engineers also argue that a flying wing is a lifting body—not a wing without a fuselage but a fuselage shaped entirely like a wing.Stephan Wilkinson, Air & Space Smithsonian, April/May 1991

Word History

First Known Use

1923, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of flying wing was in 1923

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.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near flying wing

Cite this Entry

“Flying wing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!