he·​li·​cop·​ter | \ ˈhe-lə-ˌkäp-tər How to pronounce helicopter (audio) , ˈhē- \

Definition of helicopter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an aircraft whose lift is derived from the aerodynamic forces acting on one or more powered rotors turning about substantially vertical axes


helicoptered; helicoptering; helicopters

Definition of helicopter (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to travel by helicopter

transitive verb

: to transport by helicopter

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Synonyms for helicopter

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of helicopter in a Sentence

Noun took a helicopter tour to get a better sense of the grandeur of the Grand Canyon
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Among the files published in 2010 by WikiLeaks was a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack by American forces in Baghdad, which killed a dozen people including two Reuters journalists. NBC News, "WikiLeaks' Julian Assange denied bail, U.K. court rules," 6 Jan. 2021 As the vessel's captain spoke to company security officials back in South Korea, armed Iranian troops stormed the tanker as an Iranian helicopter flew overhead, the official said. Jon Gambrell, BostonGlobe.com, "South Korean tanker was boarded by armed Iran Guard forces," 5 Jan. 2021 And at the December rally, which drew smaller numbers but a larger contingent of Proud Boys, Trump’s helicopter flew low over cheering crowds on the National Mall. Anchorage Daily News, "DC mayor calls in National Guard ahead of pro-Trump protests," 5 Jan. 2021 Jefferson County’s Star 1 helicopter was providing air support. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Missing 14-year-old girl found safe after 3 1/2 hour search in east Birmingham," 30 Dec. 2020 For many people, the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of Bryant and Gianna was the first of many tragedies that would befall 2020, which saw the start of a global pandemic in March followed by countrywide protests weeks later. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Russell Wilson Shares Tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant: 'Life Is... Bigger Than This Game'," 30 Dec. 2020 Then came his death with teen daughter and promising basketball player Gianna in a helicopter accident Jan. 26. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The rise of Girl Dads in Southland includes former pro stars," 29 Dec. 2020 Another devastating post on the list is Lebron James' tribute to NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter accident in January. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Kylie Jenner & Travis Scott, Ariana Grande Among Instagram's Most-Liked Posts of 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 The passenger in the front seat, Olivia Cyr, 16, died Monday night after being transported by Lifestar helicopter to Hartford Hospital, police said. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "Two teenagers die, one injured in Coventry vehicle crash," 29 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Zeta breached the levees protecting Grand Isle in three places and also deposited a shrimp boat on La. 1 heading toward the island, blocking access and forcing first responders to helicopter in to assess damage. Bryn Stole, NOLA.com, "'It was rocking': Hurricane Zeta deals unwelcome late-season surprise to worn out Louisianans," 29 Oct. 2020 Rhodes, who was running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, helicoptered to Kent to survey the scene. Laura Johnston, cleveland, "‘I have great pride in the revolt:’ Kent State University shooting victim Alan Canfora recounts events leading to May 4, 1970," 3 May 2020 In the fun clip, after Craig’s character picks up the Queen from Buckingham Palace, stunt actors playing them helicoptered across London and parachuted into the venue. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Charles...Prince Charles! Queen's Son Bonds with Daniel Craig Over Cars on Set of James Bond," 20 June 2019 The couple was helicoptered to safety and treated for exposure. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "Hero search dog tries not to let fame of Point Reyes rescue get to his fuzzy head," 26 Feb. 2020 One of hundreds of families to seek last-resort refuge in the Louisiana Superdome, Miller and his family were helicoptered to Texas, eventually settling in Frisco to rebuild their lives. David Buice, Dallas News, "Toyota’s Scholars Day celebrates college-bound seniors with $1 million in scholarships," 2 July 2019 These students are increasingly the children of parents who helicoptered them through elementary, middle and high school, or who didn’t go to college and can’t provide much help with it. Washington Post, "Choices, choices: For college students, a buffet of options causes heartburn," 7 Feb. 2020 Two days of snowfall followed, and by Friday, snow was neck-deep and several avalanches had occurred, a veteran mountain guide who was helicoptered out of the area said. Washington Post, "Nepal rescuers search for 7 as avalanche hits hiking trail," 20 Jan. 2020 This is where helicoptering and black mothering diverge. Dasia Moore, Quartz, "Being a protective black mom isn’t a parenting choice—it’s the only choice," 20 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'helicopter.' 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 helicopter


1887, in the meaning defined above


1952, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for helicopter


French hélicoptère, from Greek heliko- + pteron wing — more at feather

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Time Traveler for helicopter

Time Traveler

The first known use of helicopter was in 1887

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Statistics for helicopter

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for helicopter


How to pronounce helicopter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of helicopter

: an aircraft that can stay in the air without moving forward and that has metal blades that turn around on its top


he·​li·​cop·​ter | \ ˈhe-lə-ˌkäp-tər How to pronounce helicopter (audio) , ˈhē- \

Kids Definition of helicopter

: an aircraft supported in the air by horizontal propellers

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