or·​ni·​thop·​ter | \ ˈȯr-nə-ˌthäp-tər How to pronounce ornithopter (audio) \

Definition of ornithopter

: an aircraft designed to derive its chief support and propulsion from flapping wings

Examples of ornithopter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some of da Vinci's most influential designs and inventions include an ornithopter, perpetual motion models, gear systems, a massively gigantic crossbow, and a mobile bridge, among others. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "500 Years Later, da Vinci's Mechanical Lion Is Brought to Life," 19 Sep. 2019 After selling rubber-band powered dragonfly and swallow ornithopters on their web site, they were featured in a 2002 issue of Popular Science, generating enormous publicity for their projects. John Baichtal, WIRED, "GeekKids & Ornithopters," 3 Oct. 2007

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ornithopter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ornithopter

1908, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ornithopter

International Scientific Vocabulary ornith- + -pter (as in helicopter)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ornithopter

Time Traveler for ornithopter

Time Traveler

The first known use of ornithopter was in 1908

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ornithopter

Cite this Entry

“Ornithopter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ornithopter. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on ornithopter

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ornithopter

Comments on ornithopter

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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