he·​li·​cop·​ter | \ ˈhe-lə-ˌkäp-tər, 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

chopper, copter, eggbeater, helo, whirlybird

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Examples of helicopter in a Sentence


took a helicopter tour to get a better sense of the grandeur of the Grand Canyon

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, told a briefing in the capital, Jakarta, that rescuers were using 11 helicopters and navy ships in the search operations. I Made Sentana, WSJ, "Rain Slows Search for Tsunami Dead, as Indonesia Recalls 2004 Disaster," 26 Dec. 2018 Park rangers had to use helicopters and rock climbing techniques to recover their bodies. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "A Married Couple Died After Falling 800 Feet at Yosemite National Park," 30 Oct. 2018 Since Saturday, authorities have searched more than 1,400 acres around the Rankin Lake Park using a helicopter from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and boat from the Charlotte Fire Department. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "FBI joins search for missing 6-year-old boy with autism in North Carolina," 24 Sep. 2018 Meeting the family is a HUGE deal so, of course, Justin took it one step further and decided to take a helicopter to visit Hailey's family in New Windsor, New York. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's Relationship," 24 July 2018 At a Kurashiki hospital, officials used helicopters to rescue patients and staff members, with babies and children being pulled to safety first. Simon Denyer, BostonGlobe.com, "At least 85 dead, many missing as ‘historic’ rains pound Japan," 8 July 2018 This time, with help from armed friends using a hijacked helicopter and smoke bombs. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Notorious gangster Redoine Faid escapes French prison, again, on hijacked helicopter," 2 July 2018 After the ceremony, the boats turned on jets of water while the Westchester County Police flew a helicopter over the park. Kathleen Mcwilliams, courant.com, "Hundreds Of Officers Gather To Remember Trooper First Class Walter Greene," 12 June 2018 Disaster agency chief Sergio Cabanas says rescuers using helicopters have rescued 10 people from areas hit by thick ash, mud or lava. Bloomberg.com, "The Latest on Guatemala’s Deadly Volcano Eruption," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Local hotels, including the Condé Nast Traveler Readers 'Choice Award favorite Post Ranch Inn, had begun helicoptering guests in to minimize the impact the closure had on business. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "California's Highway One to Fully Reopen Today," 18 July 2018 The harbor unit has responded to everything from speed demons cruising the high seas to drunken ferry passengers to helicopter crashes. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Avast, Ye Criminals! NYPD Harbor Unit Has Increased Role as Waterways Boom," 1 Oct. 2018 However, in the episode’s final moments, the show pulled the punch — and showed Grimes being rescued and helicoptered off to destinations unknown. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead has a Rick Grimes movie trilogy on the way," 5 Nov. 2018 In a common scenario, mountain guides exploit inexperienced trekkers by pressuring them to be helicoptered back to Kathmandu at the first minor signs of illness. Kai Schultz, The Seattle Times, "Near Everest’s slopes, a helicopter rescue fraud preys on trekkers," 4 Sep. 2018 After the stroke was detected, we were quickly helicoptered to the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital via emergency medical air transport. Kerry Cromwell, Good Housekeeping, "My Little Boy Was Just 7 Years Old When He Had a Catastrophic Stroke," 26 July 2018 Some survivors and the bodies of victims were helicoptered out. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Death toll rises to 51 in Peruvian bus crash on 'Devil's Curve'," 2 Jan. 2018 Emergency rescuers helicoptered Cargo to a hospital, and doctors inserted a stent into his coronary artery. Matt Maynard, Outside Online, "Setting a Speed Record from Patagonia to Alaska," 25 June 2018 If that happens, about 1,000 people would have to be helicoptered to safety, reports CBS News' Mark Strassmann. CBS News, "Hawaii volcano's blue flames trigger fears of explosions," 24 May 2018

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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Statistics for helicopter

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for helicopter

The first known use of helicopter was in 1887

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More Definitions for helicopter



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, ˈhē-\

Kids Definition of helicopter

: an aircraft supported in the air by horizontal propellers

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Comments on helicopter

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


someone who never drinks alcohol

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