unidentified aerial phenomenon

noun

plural unidentified aerial phenomena
: a mysterious flying object in the sky that is sometimes assumed to be a spaceship from another planet : UAP
used especially as an alternative to UFO or unidentified flying object
Unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), formerly referred to as UFOs, in theory, could include alien spacecraft, but the two aren't synonymous. The Defense Department's All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) considers a UAP "anything in space, in the air, on land, in the sea or under the sea that can't be identified and might pose a threat to U.S. military installations or operations."Urja Sinha et al.

Examples of unidentified aerial phenomenon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web First, the preferred term is UAP, as in unidentified aerial phenomenon, and second, maybe! Sara Netzley, EW.com, 1 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unidentified aerial phenomenon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1949, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unidentified aerial phenomenon was in 1949

Dictionary Entries Near unidentified aerial phenomenon

Cite this Entry

“Unidentified aerial phenomenon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unidentified%20aerial%20phenomenon. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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