from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any insect of the order Orthoptera
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An orthopterous insect; an orthopteran or orthopteron; any member of the Orthoptera.
- n. A form of dirigible flying-machine or aërodrome, heavier than the air it displaces and using no gas-bag, in which the motor supplying the energy to lift and move the machine acts directly to produce motion in the desired direction.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. heavier-than-air craft that is propelled by the flapping of wings
Sorry, no etymologies found.
-- 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.
If I had stopped to guess I would probably have considered the author a longicorn beetle or some fiddling orthopter.
Two of them, the aeroplane, and the orthopter, have prototypes in nature, and are distinguished by their respective similarities to the soaring birds, and those with flapping wings.
This principle, however, affords a safer means of navigating than the orthopter type, because the blades of such an instrument can be forced through the air with infinitely greater speed than beating wings, and it devolves on the inventor to devise some form of apparatus which will permit the change of pull from a vertical to a horizontal direction while in flight.