volplane

verb

vol·​plane ˈväl-ˌplān How to pronounce volplane (audio)
ˈvȯl-
volplaned; volplaning

intransitive verb

1
: to glide in or as if in an airplane
2

Did you know?

Vol plané (meaning "gliding flight") was a phrase used by 19th-century French ornithologists to describe downward flight by birds; it contrasted with vol à voile ("soaring flight"). Around the time Orville and Wilbur Wright were promoting their latest "aeroplane" in France, the noun and the verb volplane soared to popularity in America as terms describing the daring dives by aviators. Fly Magazine reported in 1910, "The French flyers are noted for their thrilling spirals and vol planes from the sky." The avian-to-aviator generalization was fitting, since the Wright brothers had studied the flight of birds in designing their planes.

Word History

Etymology

French vol plané gliding flight

First Known Use

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of volplane was in 1909

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Cite this Entry

“Volplane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volplane. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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