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 The teams start off on the edge of a speedboat as a helicopter, which TJ is hilariously inside of, flies above them with two ropes that the competitors each have to jump and hold on to. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, "The Challenge: Double Agents Recap: Security Breach," 25 Feb. 2021 The Avaaz report found that Facebook in most cases slapped a fact-checking label on the helicopter image. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook says it cracked down on climate change lies. Then came false power outage claims during Texas winter storm," 25 Feb. 2021 The law was first used in 2017, when the Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Izumo escorted a US Navy supply ship, Michael Bosack, former deputy chief of government relations at US Forces Japan, wrote in the Tokyo Review academic journal that year. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Japan increases protection for US military amid 'severe security environment'," 24 Feb. 2021 The rover will deploy a little helicopter called Ingenuity, which will become the first machine to take flight on Mars. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "Mars Has Never Felt Closer to Home," 23 Feb. 2021 For off-island adventures, the concierge can arrange epic excursions like a helicopter tour over the Great Blue Hole or an exploration of ancient Mayan ruins. Michelle Stansbury, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Cayo Espanto," 23 Feb. 2021 After the monthlong commissioning phase is over, the team will find a nearby, flat spot to loose the 1.8-kilogram Ingenuity helicopter, which survived the landing attached to the rover’s belly. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "After dramatic landing, Mars rover will probe ancient lake for clues to planet’s wet past," 23 Feb. 2021 Perseverance has 23 cameras on board, two microphones, multiple sensors, and an experimental drone helicopter. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Watch the nail-biting video of the Mars rover landing on the Red Planet," 22 Feb. 2021 Witness video provided to NBC7 appeared to show the helicopter landing in the area of Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, just east of Torrey Pines Road and Torrey Pines State Beach and southwest of Carmel Valley Road. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Marine Corps helicopter makes ‘precautionary landing’ in Torrey Pines," 22 Feb. 2021 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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Helicopter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/helicopter. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce helicopter (audio) , ˈhē- \

Kids Definition of helicopter

: an aircraft supported in the air by horizontal propellers

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Comments on helicopter

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