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

  • n. The tail assembly of an aircraft, including the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, elevators, and rudder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The tail assembly of an aircraft.
  • n. The feathers of an arrow or the tail fins of a bomb or rocket used to stabilize the longitudinal axis of the projectile parallel to the flight path.

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

  • n. the rear part of an aircraft


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

French, feathers on an arrow, empennage, from empenner, to feather an arrow : en-, in; see en-1 + penne, feather (from Latin penna; see pet- in Indo-European roots).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French, feathers of an arrow


  • As I neared the giant empennage, I glanced to my left at the last second.

    A Nightmare’s Prayer

  • Yet it is a sleek affair, with wings that are large relative to its fuselage and a tail section or empennage that sticks out behind in two sections, carrying stabilizers angled vertically in a V.

    The Nature of Technology

  • No marks of wing or empennage, or engine impact anywhere, not to mention a paucity of wreckage, bodies and etc.


  • He pushes them in sequence, checking and rechecking each step and feeling the change in the tail structure as the twin-boomed empennage begins to rise to a nearly eighty-degree upward deflection.


  • She moved gingerly, trying to get her bearings, and realized she was sitting on the rear empennage of the ship.


  • If the hook can be strengthened, especially where it joins the empennage, I believe the plane will give a good account of itself.


  • A few seconds before, Larry had recognized what it was: a piece from the empennage.

    Division 3

  • After being hit by fighters S.E. of Zaporoschje, near Heidelberg, he bails out without mishap, although in the act of jumping he smashes something on the empennage.

    Stuka Pilot

  • Wide, ribbed wings upbore sticklike torsos, grotesque empennage, beaks and claws.

    A Circus of Hells

  • He saw boats and cars and a few long-nosed airplanes, with the merest trace of vestigial wings far back near the empennage, streaking through the sky in high arcs, leaving curling trails of fog and smoke behind them.

    Hunters Out of Space


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  • Aunt Mildred affected a bustle

    So haste was a terrible tussle.

    She needed a nudge

    In the empennage

    Whenever required to hustle.

    November 4, 2015