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

  • noun A rigid airship having a long cylindrical body supported by internal gas cells.

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

  • noun A dirigible balloon of the rigid type, consisting of a cylindrical trussed and covered frame supported by internal gas cells, and provided with means of propulsion and control. It was first successfully used by Ferdinand Count von Zeppelin.

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

  • noun A type of large German dirigible airship of the early 20th century designed to carry passengers or bombs.

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

  • noun a large rigid dirigible designed to carry passengers or bombs
  • noun German inventor who designed and built the first rigid motorized dirigible (1838-1917)


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

[After Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Named after Ferdinand, Count von Zeppelin.



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  • "Zeppelin" is not a synonym for "airship" or "dirigible" though many people use it that way. Zeppelin is a trade name and as such should always be capitalized, and only used to refer to a rigid airship produced by the Zeppelin company. It's like "Kleenex" or "Rollerblade."

    Not all airships are dirigibles, either. The difference is that an airship is a "ballon dirigible," or "steerable balloon," while hot-air balloons--though airships--are not steerable.

    Dirigibles include both rigid airships and blimps. Rigid airships contain a frame that holds the aircraft's shape regardless of whether the gas cells are filled with gas. A blimp is a large, sturdy (and steerable) balloon, in that it does not have a rigid frame underneath its outer covering (known as the envelope).

    February 1, 2007

  • What a Zeppelin-head. :-)

    February 2, 2007

  • Wouldn't this world be kind of cool?

    December 24, 2008

  • I can never hear this word without thinking of Led Zeppelin... Stairway to Heaven, anyone?

    January 9, 2009

  • Heard a rather lowbrow joke (it's a bit old, but I'd forgotten about it):

    Q: What's the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?

    A: One is a Nazi gasbag, and the other is a Zeppelin.

    July 30, 2009