\ \ [19] The prefix aero- comes ultimately from Greek āérair’, but many of the terms containing it (such as aeronaut and aerostat) reached English via French. This was the case, too, with aeroplane, in the sense of ‘heavier-than-air flying machine’. The word was first used in English in 1873 (30 years before the Wright brothers’ first flight), by D S Brown in the Annual Report of the Aeronautical Society – he refers vaguely to an aeroplane invented by ‘a Frenchman’. The abbreviated form plane followed around 1908. (An earlier, and exclusively English, use of the word aeroplane was in the sense ‘aerofoil, wing’; this was coined in the 1860s, but did not long survive the introduction of the ‘aircraft’ sense.) Aeroplane is restricted in use mainly to British English (and even there now has a distinctly old-fashioned air). The preferred term in American English is airplane, a refashioning of aeroplane along more ‘English’ lines which is first recorded from 1907.
\ \ Cf.AIR

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

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