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

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

Some rescuers worked from a tent set up on the deck of a tugboat off the ship's stern, while smaller boats and helicopters buzzed around. CBS News, "Overturned cargo ship's missing crew members are alive, Coast Guard says," 9 Sep. 2019 The assignment included coordinating the movements of military and law enforcement rescue vessels, helicopters and airplanes representing various local, county, state and federal agencies. David C. Henley, Daily Pilot, "‘It will live with me forever’: Coast Guard officer recalls 4 days of duty at site of dive boat tragedy," 9 Sep. 2019 About 600 firefighters and resources from multiple agencies — including five tankers, three helicopters and eight hand crews — were on the scene of the McMurray fire, which had grown to about 200 acres and was 20% contained as of 7:45 pm. Los Angeles Times, "Fire in Santa Barbara County causes power outages and prompts road closures," 9 Sep. 2019 Saturday afternoon the airport was buzzing with helicopters and small planes as American pilots flew in supplies. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "'Paradise has been turned to hell': Residents, aid workers in Bahamas deal with Dorian devastation," 8 Sep. 2019 Some 270 firefighters are currently battling the blaze, using (among other things) three helicopters and 44 fire engines. Chris Morris, Fortune, "It’s Not Just Hurricanes. California Wildfire Season is Underway, Too," 6 Sep. 2019 Rescues have concentrated on Bahamas' northern islands as international teams sent small planes and helicopters to reach those stranded and feed the displaced. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Bahamas official warns people to prepare for the 'unimaginable' as hurricane death toll rises to 30," 6 Sep. 2019 Tehama County Fire and Cal Fire’s Tehama-Glenn Unit were responding to the fire, which was 0% contained, and aircrafts were on scene: six tankers, three helicopters and one air attack aircraft, said Dave Doughty, a TCF spokesman. Pete Grieve, SFChronicle.com, "Mandatory evacuations ordered as Red Bank fire burns 5,000 acres in Tehama County," 5 Sep. 2019 Deputies, helicopters and police canine units were brought in to located those believed responsible for the break-ins, authorities said. Mike Glenn, Houston Chronicle, "Cops bust suspected car burglars in Katy," 4 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Parents are hovering and helicoptering and snowplowing in ways that are so toxic for their children. Amy Haneline, USA TODAY, "'Girls Who Code' founder Reshma Saujani is a boy mom fighting gender norms. 'Let them fail'," 14 June 2019 Nearly half a million concertgoers left the roads so clogged, musicians had to be helicoptered in. Lauren Daley, BostonGlobe.com, "Director of new Woodstock documentary returns to a moment of genuine peace and love," 1 Aug. 2019 Once the Boars were helicoptered to Chiang Rai to recover from their injuries, one foreign news agency reportedly offered their hospital a large donation in exchange for access to them. Max Marshall, SI.com, "Mining the Miracle," 26 June 2019 Both Milling and Nanook were helicoptered out and the husky was later returned to its owner in Girdwood. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Troopers rescue hiker and dog from Crow Pass Trail," 18 June 2019 Before Jack can really rip into him, Nicky is helicoptered away from the scene, leaving the Mystery Woman completely inconsolable. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Reveals the Truth About Nicky," 23 Jan. 2019 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

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

14 Sep 2019

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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 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

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


concealment of treason or felony

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