vo·​lant ˈvō-lənt How to pronounce volant (audio)
: having the wings extended as if in flight
used of a heraldic bird
: flying or capable of flying

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English picked up "volant" from Middle French. The term survives in Modern French as well, both as an adjective having essentially the same meaning as the English term, and as a noun with several meanings (among them "shuttlecock"). The influence of French can be seen doubly in the heraldic sense of "volant": in heraldic contexts the adjective "volant" almost always appears after the noun - a syntax picked up from French along with the meaning. Ultimately, "volant" comes from the Latin verb volare, meaning "to fly." Another word that came to English through Middle French from volare is "volley," which refers to things flying back and forth through the air.

Examples of volant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There were volant ruffles giving architecture to the body and reinterpreted polka dots. Allyson Portee, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Jan. 2023 And being not only large but also volant might have been particularly costly, because big fliers tend to rely on soaring flight for much of their travel. Michael B. Habib, Scientific American, 1 Oct. 2019

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

Word History


Middle French, from Latin volant-, volans, present participle of volare to fly

First Known Use

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of volant was in 1572


Dictionary Entries Near volant

Cite this Entry

“Volant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volant. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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