from The Century Dictionary.

  • That may be directed, controlled, or steered.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Capable of being directed; steerable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A self-propelled airship that can be steered
  • adjective steerable

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective capable of being steered or directed
  • noun a steerable self-propelled aircraft


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin dīrigere, to direct; see direct + –ible.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The term arose from attempts in the late 1800s to make a balloon steerable. In French, dirigeable means steerable. Over time the phrase “dirigible balloon” was shortened to just dirigible. In modern parlance, the term has been replaced by airship.


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  • The adjective: capable of being steered.

    Hence a zeppelin or airship was in fact a "dirigible balloon"; or a balloon that could be steered.

    January 30, 2007

  • "She stood with her back to him, nude at the stove, dancing back as hot drops of oil leapt from the pan. The covers slipped from the slope of Isaac's belly. He was a dirigible, huge and taut and strong. Grey hair burst from him abundently." From Perdido Street Station by China Meiville.

    September 18, 2011

  • This got me thinking about hot air balloons. A mode of 'transport' with no brakes, no steering, where you're standing in a flammable basket with a roaring gas flame. I'm surprised it ever got off the ground.

    August 5, 2022