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Etymology of “Airplane”
Etymology of “Airplane”

Etymology of “Airplane”

The Online Etymology Dictionary says of: 1.  Airplane
1907, from air (1) + plane; though the original references are British, the word caught on in Amer.Eng., where it largely superseded earlier aeroplane (1873, and still common in British Eng.; q.v.).    © November 2001 Douglas Harper
2.  Air
c.1300, “invisible gases that make up the atmosphere,” from O.Fr. air, from L. ærem (nom. ær), from Gk. aer (gen. æros) “air” (related to aenai “to blow, breathe”), of unknown origin, possibly from a base *awer- and thus related to aeirein “to raise” and arteria “windpipe, artery” (see aorta), on notion of “lifting, that which rises.”    © November 2001 Douglas Harper
3.  Plane
“flat surface,” 1604, from L. plantum “flat surface,” properly neut. of adj. planus “flat, level, plain, clear,” from PIE *pla-no- (cf. Lith. plonas “thin;” Celtic *lanon “plain;” perhaps also Gk. pelanos “sacrificial cake, a mixture offered to the gods, offering (of meal, honey, and oil) poured or spread”), suffixed form of base *pele- “to spread out, broad, flat” (cf. O.C.S. polje “flat land, field,” Rus. polyi “open;” O.E., O.H.G. feld, M.Du. veld “field”). Fig. sense is attested from 1850. The verb meaning “soar, glide on motionless wings” is first recorded 1611, from M.Fr. planer (16c.), from L. planum on notion of bird gliding with flattened wings. Of boats, etc., “to skim over the surface of water” it is first found 1913.       © November 2001 Douglas Harper

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