pilot

noun
pi·​lot | \ ˈpī-lət \

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 \ 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

In the midst of this is a WASP pilot named Elma York, who has the skills and ambition to assist with the effort. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 The program began as a pilot under President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as part of the war on poverty. Julia Belluz, Vox, "A new Trump rule could take food stamps away from 755,000 people," 20 Dec. 2018 Indeed, while Bush will be remembered for numerous achievements, including his service as a combat pilot in World War II and his many years of dedicated public service, perhaps his most lasting legacy will remain that of a family man. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How George H.W. Bush's Extraordinary Political Career Shaped His Relationship With His Children," 5 Dec. 2018 In Spring 2016, Collins Avenue reached out to see if the couple was interested in filming a pilot. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About David and Lauren Liess's New DIY Network Show," 6 Nov. 2018 Mikie Sherrill is a 46-year-old mother of four who served as a Navy helicopter pilot before becoming a federal prosecutor. Jill Filipovic, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Future Is Female in the Midterm Elections," 4 Oct. 2018 During the launch event, which took place in the city of Bristol, Prince William discussed how his past work as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance service impacted his mental health. Andrea Park, SELF, "Prince William Explains How His Time as a First Responder Affected His Mental Health," 12 Sep. 2018 The pilot program will offer some families access to heavily discounted, shared Lyft rides to grocery stores. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Lyft is offering $2.50 rides to grocery stores for DC residents with limited food choices," 11 Dec. 2018 Funny Girls started with a pilot program in three New York City-area programs, and this fall the Harnisch Foundation trained coaches at five new locations in the Funny Girls curriculum. Shay Maunz, Glamour, "Funny Girls Is Teaching Girls to Be Leaders Through Improv," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Two months earlier, a plane Mr. Martínez was co-piloting ran out of gas on approach and broke its landing gear. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Help! My Boss Is El Chapo," 12 Jan. 2019 Delta Air Lines led the movement, opening the first biometric terminal in Atlanta this year, but others, including JetBlue and Lufthansa, have piloted biometric boarding processes in Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Kristen Leigh Painter, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Air Travel Will Change in 2019," 13 Dec. 2018 And big tech companies have begun piloting their own projects as well. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Rise of DNA Data Storage," 26 June 2018 This month, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG and auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH announced plans to jointly pilot a robot-taxi program in San Jose, Calif. Leaders in some big cities remain wary, though. Tim Higgins, WSJ, "Self-Driving Cars Encounter Political Roadblocks," 19 Nov. 2018 Joliet Junior College and Lewis University have formed a partnership to pilot a new program for nursing students, allowing them to transfer seamlessly and earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Joliet Junior College, Lewis University partner to help nursing students get bachelor's degrees," 1 June 2018 James said his initiative to raise third-grade reading proficiency, Turn the Page KC, will pilot a program attempting to address equity issues in education, such as racial disparities in school discipline. Bill Turque, kansascity, "Calls for equity, inclusion highlight James' State of City speech | The Kansas City Star," 27 Mar. 2018 Brown was named the NBA's coach of the year in 2009 after piloting James and the Cavs to a then-franchise best 66-16 record. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Ranking LeBron James' seven NBA head coaches over the course of his career," 5 July 2018 He is known for piloting a 2009 US Airways flight to a successful water landing in the Hudson River... A Chesterton, Ind. native, Gaffigan attended Purdue for a year before transferring to Georgetown. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "IndyStar 2018 NCAA tournament celebrity alumni bracket," 12 Mar. 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

15 Jan 2019

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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 \

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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