Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A machine shaped like an aircraft that is held aloft and propelled by wing movements.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A flying-machine in which an attempt is made to imitate the oscillatory movement of the wings of a bird.

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

  • noun An aircraft that generates lift through the flapping of its wings.

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

  • noun heavier-than-air craft that is propelled by the flapping of wings

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From ornitho- + -pter.

Examples

  • An ornithopter is an aircraft that gets its forward propulsion from the flapping of wings (the ORNITH – in ornithopter comes from the ltain for “bird” – putting “ornith” on a prefix makes it “bird-like”) an ornithopter is a heavier-than-air aircraft that is propelled by the flapping of wings.

    KAMN Show #11: Dune : The Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas

  •     The ornithopter was the original one they had rebuilt years ago.

    The Brothers' War

  • The ornithopter was the original one they had rebuilt years ago.

    The Brothers' War

  • -- The term orthopter, or ornithopter, meaning bird wing, is applied to such flying machines as depend on wing motion to support them in the air.

    Aeroplanes

  • The thing descending from the sky was unmistakably an or­nate ornithopter, wrought in the shape of a gigantic condor, enameled in blue, scarlet, and green.

    Archive 2010-02-01

  • In the foreground is a butterfly ornithopter, an elf alien, a BoarCroc, and a satyr.

    Studio Shot in ImagineFX

  • Today on BoingBoing Gadgets, we reviewed a 3G USB modem that works great on Macs and high-end canine gear; listened to The Harmonium; drank a strictly-conforming European pint; watched Belkin try to bring novelty to the world of mouse pads; built an ornithopter and a difference engine; guzzled yoghurt with a specially-shaped spoon; and listened to a beautiful boombox in a double-bass fiddle.

    Boing Boing

  • As I sit here in my ornithopter, debating whether to visit the excellent library of microfiche on Mars or to bathe in the pools of Venus, a few names come to mind ...

    June 2008

  • As I sit here in my ornithopter, debating whether to visit the excellent library of microfiche on Mars or to bathe in the pools of Venus, a few names come to mind ...

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  • In the foreground is a butterfly ornithopter, an elf alien, a BoarCroc, and a satyr.

    Archive 2010-05-01

Comments

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  • ornithopter, n.

    The Guardian, 18 February 2016:

    Flapping wing drones or ornithopters may have the edge over aircraft-like designs, and there are drone projects that mimic the way birds find and ride thermals to gain height. Other researchers have developed drones that can perch on branches or wires with the feet based on the talons of a hawk.

    March 1, 2016