zep·​pe·​lin | \ ˈze-p(ə-)lən How to pronounce zeppelin (audio) \

Definition of zeppelin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a rigid airship consisting of a cylindrical trussed and covered frame supported by internal gas cells broadly : airship


biographical name
Zep·​pe·​lin | \ ˌtse-pə-ˈlēn How to pronounce Zeppelin (audio) , ˈze-p(ə-)lən \

Definition of Zeppelin (Entry 2 of 2)

Ferdinand (Adolf August Heinrich) 1838–1917 Graf von Zeppelin German general and aeronaut

Illustration of zeppelin

Illustration of zeppelin


In the meaning defined above

Examples of zeppelin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Though the zeppelin held the advantage in terms of safety, passenger satisfaction and reliability over long distances, the airplane enjoyed the benefit of sheer quantity, with the United States producing 3,010 civilian aircraft in 1936 alone. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2020 Why did zeppelins use hydrogen instead of helium, the American airship gas of choice? Keith O’brien, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2020 One of the highlights of the film takes place in the German zeppelin airship. Susan King, Los Angeles Times, 1 Jan. 2020 Now scientists and others are starting to look at zeppelins as something more than hovering billboards like the Goodyear Blimp. April White, Smithsonian, 22 Nov. 2019 The age of huge, ocean-crossing zeppelins came to an end in 1937, when the Hindenburg — the largest craft of its type ever built — erupted in flames while landing in New Jersey. NBC News, 19 Aug. 2019 Doehner was only 8 years old when the famous zeppelin erupted into flames and crashed while docking in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937, according to his obituary. Fox News, 17 Nov. 2019 People travel by helicopter, hot-air balloon and metal zeppelins. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 1 Nov. 2019 This was a time when zeppelins and other inflatable airships were being constructed, and places once beyond reach seemed attainable. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Oct. 2019

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


1908, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zeppelin


Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin

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Time Traveler for zeppelin

Time Traveler

The first known use of zeppelin was in 1908

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Cite this Entry

“Zeppelin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeppelin. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for zeppelin



English Language Learners Definition of zeppelin

: a large aircraft without wings that floats because it is filled with gas and that has a rigid frame inside its body to help it keep its shape


zep·​pe·​lin | \ ˈze-pə-lən How to pronounce zeppelin (audio) \

Kids Definition of zeppelin

: an airship resembling a huge long balloon that has a metal frame and is driven through the air by engines carried on its underside

More from Merriam-Webster on zeppelin

Nglish: Translation of zeppelin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zeppelin for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zeppelin


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