pilot

noun
pi·​lot | \ ˈpī-lət How to pronounce pilot (audio) \

Definition of pilot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : one employed to steer a ship : helmsman
b : a person who is qualified and usually licensed to conduct a ship into and out of a port or in specified waters
c : a person who flies or is qualified to fly an aircraft or spacecraft
2 : guide, leader
4 : a piece that guides a tool or machine part
5 : a television show produced and filmed or taped as a sample of a proposed series

pilot

verb
piloted; piloting; pilots

Definition of pilot (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to act as a guide to : lead or conduct over a usually difficult course
2a : to set and conn the course of pilot a ship
b : to act as pilot of pilot a plane

pilot

adjective

Definition of pilot (Entry 3 of 3)

: serving as a guiding or tracing device, an activating or auxiliary unit, or a trial apparatus or operation a pilot study

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Other Words from pilot

Noun

pilotless \ ˈpī-​lət-​ləs How to pronounce pilotless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for pilot

Synonyms: Noun

airman, aviator, birdman, flier (also flyer)

Synonyms: Verb

coach, counsel, guide, lead, mentor, shepherd, show, tutor

Synonyms: Adjective

developmental, experimental, trial

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Choose the Right Synonym for pilot

Verb

guide, lead, steer, pilot, engineer mean to direct in a course or show the way to be followed. guide implies intimate knowledge of the way and of all its difficulties and dangers. guided the scouts through the cave lead implies showing the way and often keeping those that follow under control and in order. led his team to victory steer implies an ability to keep to a course and stresses the capacity of maneuvering correctly. steered the ship through a narrow channel pilot suggests guidance over a dangerous or complicated course. piloted the bill through the Senate engineer implies finding ways to avoid or overcome difficulties in achieving an end or carrying out a plan. engineered his son's election to the governorship

Examples of pilot in a Sentence

Noun

the airline is seeking experienced pilots to fly the new airplane

Verb

He is learning how to pilot a helicopter. He skillfully piloted the ship into port during the storm.

Adjective

The group conducted a pilot program. a new pilot program to train inner-city residents for jobs in the tech sector
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their pilot was so charming, HGTV signed them for a five-season deal right off the bat. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Chip and Joanna Gaineses' Love Story Is Better Than The Notebook," 19 Apr. 2019 There is one small pilot study out of the U.K. that demonstrated symptom relief in adults with ADHD from a combination of THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio. The Editors, Marie Claire, "10 Health Issues CBD Could Solve," 17 Apr. 2019 Ethiopian Airlines trained its pilots on how to perform the procedure, airline officials have said. Nizar Manek, The Seattle Times, "Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX crash investigators seek missing sensor suspected of malfunctioning," 29 Mar. 2019 Details are scarce as to exactly how the pilot will be distributed. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's Old Comedy Central Pilot to Be Released, Former Costar Max Greenfield Reveals," 27 Mar. 2019 The vehicles Ford is using aren’t really autonomous, but designed to look that way for the purposes of the pilot. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Ford’s self-driving cars are really good, but are they good enough to win?," 15 Nov. 2018 The series’ pilot premiered on June 3, 2018, just a few days after the cutoff. Henry Youtt, Billboard, "Why 'Pose' Didn't Receive Any Emmy Award Nominations," 12 July 2018 The pilot made an emergency landing in Washington, D.C. so the passenger could be rushed to a hospital. Chris Flanagan, ajc, "Rookie firefighter saves man suffering from heart attack on flight," 11 July 2018 Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories Science As a kid Cameron Smith dreamed of becoming an astronaut but his eyesight keep him out of the pilot's seat. Amy Thompson, WIRED, "The Race to Get Tourists to Suborbital Space Is Heating Up," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brekke was piloting these missions and suddenly, memory drew him back to 1995. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Old Shipwreck Transformed Into a Gorgeous Reef," 27 Dec. 2018 The program is being piloted from January to June and is only available in DC’s Wards 7 and 8 for up to 500 families that will be initially invited to try it. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Lyft is offering $2.50 rides to grocery stores for DC residents with limited food choices," 11 Dec. 2018 Scooters are currently being piloted in a handful of cities including Washington D.C., Austin, and San Diego. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Lime’s scooters will now be integrated into the ride-hailing giant’s app.," 9 July 2018 Spark has also asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow the company to pilot an installment payment plan that would be exempt from Medicaid best-price rules. Joseph Walker, WSJ, "Biotech Proposes Paying for Pricey Drugs by Installment," 8 Jan. 2019 Recently, Kroger partnered with the tech startup Nuro to pilot a self-driving car delivery service. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "The first self-driving car you use will most likely carry your groceries, not you," 30 Nov. 2018 As she was buried at a cemetery near Maynardville, Tenn., Feb. 2, four Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet jets—all piloted by women—flew over to honor her. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Rosemary Mariner, Spurned by Airline Executive, Led Way for Female Pilots in U.S. Navy," 15 Feb. 2019 Bruno was later taken to a hospital, not only thanks to the piloting prowess of the French Mountain Police, but his skiing buddy's improbable cell service. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Helicopter Pulls Off Improbable Rescue Mission in the French Alps," 10 Jan. 2019 Bob Barger, who piloted Navy planes during the war, received his associate’s degree from the University of Toledo in Ohio to a standing ovation, according to The Associated Press. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "World War II veteran, 96, receives college degree more than 60 years after his last class, report says," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the Swedish city of Luleå, steelmaker SSAB AB, iron-ore miner Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB and power-generator Vattenfall AB are jointly building a pilot steel factory that will use hydrogen in place of coking coal. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "Miners Test Greener Ways to Dig," 16 July 2018 Within the pilot study area, any current on-street time restriction would become a flat three-hour limit. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "Oak Park officials debate parking pilot program; more discussions set in June," 21 May 2018 Chukoskie met a lot of young adults like Baramki-Azar during the pilot study. Sarah Deweerdt, Science | AAAS, "Can science-based video games help kids with autism?," 22 June 2018 Sacramento is one of seven North American cities selected to participate in a pilot program offering incentives to Uber drivers who use electric vehicles, the ride-sharing company announced Tuesday. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Uber teams up with SMUD to offer new cash incentives. There's just one condition," 19 June 2018 But he was assured by the terms of the contract; NuSI would have no control over the pilot study’s design, operation, or reporting. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Collapse of a $40 Million Nutrition Science Crusade," 18 June 2018 In one of the trials -- a pilot study -- the patients who received the diabetes drug did not get any worse for two years while the control group, who received a standard treatment for Parkinson's, deteriorated significantly. Christian Holscher, CNN, "New approach to Alzheimer's fight: Diabetes drugs," 15 June 2018 Another pilot prosecution project was implemented in the El Paso area at the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year. Mark Dent, Anchorage Daily News, "Sessions vows to prosecute all illegal border crossers and separate children from their parents," 8 May 2018 Commission members also voted to direct staff to develop, monitor and enforce guest, night passes and second car passes within the pilot study area as a way to ensure local residents have parking priority. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "'There’s got to be measurable goals': Oak Park transportation commission seeks task force to monitor parking pilot," 1 May 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1915, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pilot

Noun

Middle French pilote, from Italian pilota, alteration of pedota, from Middle Greek *pēdōtēs, from Greek pēda steering oars, plural of pēdon oar; probably akin to Greek pod-, pous foot — more at foot

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Statistics for pilot

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pilot

The first known use of pilot was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for pilot

pilot

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pilot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a person who flies an airplane, helicopter, etc.
: a person who steers or guides a ship into and out of a port or in dangerous waters
: a single television show that is made as a test to see if a television series based on the show would be popular and successful

pilot

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pilot (Entry 2 of 3)

: to fly (an airplane, spacecraft, etc.)
: to steer or guide (a ship)

pilot

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pilot (Entry 3 of 3)

: done as a test to see if a larger program, study, etc., should be done

pilot

noun
pi·​lot | \ ˈpī-lət How to pronounce pilot (audio) \

Kids Definition of pilot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who flies an aircraft
2 : a person who steers a ship
3 : a person especially qualified to guide ships into and out of a port or in dangerous waters

pilot

verb
piloted; piloting

Kids Definition of pilot (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fly (an airplane)
2 : to steer or guide (a boat)

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More from Merriam-Webster on pilot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pilot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pilot

Spanish Central: Translation of pilot

Nglish: Translation of pilot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pilot for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pilot

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