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

  • n. One who operates or is licensed to operate an aircraft in flight.
  • n. Nautical One who, though not belonging to a ship's company, is licensed to conduct a ship into and out of port or through dangerous waters.
  • n. Nautical The helmsman of a ship.
  • n. One who guides or directs a course of action for others.
  • n. The part of a tool, device, or machine that leads or guides the whole.
  • n. A pilot light, as in a stove.
  • n. A television program produced as a prototype of a series being considered for adoption by a network.
  • transitive v. To serve as the pilot of.
  • transitive v. To steer or control the course of. See Synonyms at guide.
  • adj. Serving as a tentative model for future experiment or development: a pilot project.
  • adj. Serving or leading as guide.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who steers a ship, a helmsman.
  • n. A person who knows well the depths and currents of a harbor or coastal area, who is hired by a vessel to help navigate the harbor or coast.
  • n. this sense?) (road transport) A vehicle to warn other road users of the presence of an oversize vehicle/combination.
  • n. A guide or escort through an unknown or dangerous area.
  • n. Something serving as a test or trial.
  • n. A person who is in charge of the controls of an aircraft.
  • n. A sample episode of a proposed TV series
  • n. A cowcatcher.
  • n. A pilot light.
  • adj. Made or used as a test or demonstration of capability. (pilot run, pilot plant)
  • adj. Used to control or activate another device. (pilot light)
  • adj. A vehicle to warn other road users of the presence of an oversize vehicle/combination. (pilot vehicle)
  • adj. Used to indicate operation ("pilot lamp")
  • v. To control (an aircraft or watercraft).
  • v. To guide (a vessel) through coastal waters.
  • v. To test or have a preliminary trial of (an idea, a new product, etc.)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One employed to steer a vessel; a helmsman; a steersman.
  • n. Specifically, a person duly qualified, and licensed by authority, to conduct vessels into and out of a port, or in certain waters, for a fixed rate of fees.
  • n. Figuratively: A guide; a director of another through a difficult or unknown course.
  • n. An instrument for detecting the compass error.
  • n. The cowcatcher of a locomotive.
  • n. One who flies, or is qualified to fly, an airplane, balloon, or other flying machine.
  • n. A short plug at the end of a counterbore to guide the tool. Pilots are sometimes made interchangeable.
  • n. The heading or excavation of relatively small dimensions, first made in the driving of a larger tunnel.
  • n. a filmed or taped episode of a proposed television series, produced as an example of the series. It may be shown only to those television broadcast executives who may decide whether to buy the rights to the series, or aired to test viewer reaction or to interest sponsors. Also called pilot film or pilot tape.
  • transitive v. To direct the course of, as of a ship, where navigation is dangerous.
  • transitive v. Figuratively: To guide, as through dangers or difficulties.
  • transitive v. To fly, or act as pilot of (an aircraft); to operate (an airplane).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To steer; direct the course of, especially through an intricate or perilous passage; guide through dangers or difficulties.
  • n. The steersman of a ship; that one of a ship's crew who has charge of the helm and the ship's course; specifically, one who works a ship into and out of harbor, or through a channel or passage.
  • n. A guide; a director of the course of others; one who has the conduct of any affair requiring knowledge and judgment.
  • n. Same as cow-catcher. See cut under passenger-engine.
  • n. A book of sailing-directions.
  • n. Pilot-cloth.
  • n. The pilot-fish.
  • n. The black-bellied plover, Squatarola helvetica.
  • n. In machinery, a smaller element acting in advance of another or principal element of the same sort, and causing the latter to come into play when desired.

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

  • n. someone who is licensed to operate an aircraft in flight
  • n. a program exemplifying a contemplated series; intended to attract sponsors
  • n. an inclined metal frame at the front of a locomotive to clear the track
  • n. a person qualified to guide ships through difficult waters going into or out of a harbor
  • n. small auxiliary gas burner that provides a flame to ignite a larger gas burner
  • v. operate an airplane
  • v. act as the navigator in a car, plane, or vessel and plan, direct, plot the path and position of the conveyance
  • n. something that serves as a model or a basis for making copies


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

Obsolete French, helmsman, from Old French, from Old Italian pilota, alteration of pedota, from Medieval Greek *pēdōtēs, from Greek pēda, steering oar, pl. of pēdon, blade of an oar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French pilot, pillot, from Italian piloto, from Late Latin pillottus; perhaps ultimately from Ancient Greek πηδόν (pēdon, "blade of an oar, oar") , hence also Ancient and Modern Greek πηδάλιον (pēdalion), "rudder" .



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  • Oooh, good idea! (I assume you're referring to this list?)

    September 24, 2009

  • Or just ask oroboros! :)

    September 24, 2009

  • Talk Like A Pilot every 19th of May! (If you need help, refer to this video.)

    September 24, 2009

  • A definition seems to be missing: the use of 'pilot' in the sense of a trial of a completed (first version of a) product. For example: "We will be releasing this new software in June, following a pilot with selected users in May." I see this use frequently, both as a noun in the previous example and as an adjective, as in: "The pilot project was a success, we can go ahead with the release."

    April 1, 2009

  • The actual name of the device known as a cowcatcher.

    February 4, 2008