An aircraft that derives its lift from blades that rotate about an approximately vertical central axis. intr. & tr.v., -tered, -terÂ·ing, -ters.
To go or transport by helicopter.
[French hÃ©licoptÃ¨re : Greek helix, helik-, spiral; see helix + Greek pteron, wing; see â€“pter.]
WORD HISTORY The two Greek words that are the origin of helicopter may be particularly hard for English speakers to spot. Helicopter was borrowed from the French word hÃ©licoptÃ¨re, a word constructed from Greek helikoâ€“ and pteron, â€œwing.â€ Helikoâ€“, the combining form of helix, â€œspiral,â€ has given us helicoâ€“, which can be joined with other words and word forms to create new words. The consonant cluster pt in pteron begins many Greek words but relatively few English words. English speakers unfamiliar with Greek are thus not likely to recognize the word's elements as helicoâ€“pter; many analyze the word into the elements heliâ€“copter, as is shown by the clipped form copter.