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air +‎ ship



airship (plural airships)

  1. (aviation) A lighter-than-air aircraft that can be propelled forward through the air as well as steered.
    'Airships are posited to be cheaper to operate over time than fixed-wing aircraft, but as there are no large fleets, this is hard to prove in practice.
  2. (US, law enforcement, aviation) A police air unit, a police helicopter
  3. (aviation, informal) Any aircraft.
    On weekends, I liked to spend my time at the airport watching the various airships take off and land.
  4. (Britain, derogatory, chiefly in the plural) A high ranking official of the RAF, viewed as arrogant and distant.
    • 1947, Great Britain. National Coal Board, A Selection of General Addresses Delivered Before the National Coal Board Summer School, Cambridge, 1947[1], →OCLC, page 10:
      I only make them to add perhaps a little weight to my view that, whether one thinks of Their Lordships of the Admiralty, or of Their Airships of the Air Ministry, or of Their Coalships of Lansdowne House, or of any other governing body, what is vastly more important than the precise theoretical form of the superstructure is the will—and the capacity—throughout the organisation to make the organisation work.
    • 1953, The Aeroplane[2], Temple Press, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 311:
      Then where does the Navy come in, since it is generally agreed that the primary role of the Navy is the protection of our merchant ships? It is obvious that neither their Lordships of the Admiralty nor their Airships of the Air Ministry will relinquish their power without a struggle.
    • 1971, Basil Boothroyd, Prince Philip: An Informal Biography, page 217:
      And all the time, ever present but out of sight, "their Airships,” as they called the RAF top brass, were also watching, praying.
    • 2006 June 30, Roy Bagshaw, Alan Pollock, Malcolm Thomas, Ray Deacon, RAF Little Rissington: The Central Flying School, 1946–76[3], Pen and Sword, →ISBN, →OCLC:
      But their Airships insisted that we fly there.
    • 2006, Kel Palmer, A Roving Commission[4], iUniverse, published 2013, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 541:
      Trespassing on superior ground was frowned upon, and although it was difficult to look serious, and infra dig to salute when wearing only swimming trunks, a deferential nod on passing their Airships was expected and its absence noted!
    • 2010 May 19, R. Moore, Nuclear Illusion, Nuclear Reality: Britain, the United States and Nuclear Weapons, 1958-64 (Nuclear Weapons and International Security since 1945)‎[5], Springer, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 18:
      For the Air Council – 'their airships', in counterpoint to the Board of Admiralty – nuclear deterrence and the manned bomber were the overriding concerns of the postwar era.
    • 2013, James Holland, Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-1943:
      "Their Airships back in London didn't give a bugger about Malta," he [Tom Neil] says
    • 2015 April 19, Tony Blackman, Anthony Wright, Valiant Boys: True Stories from the Operators of the UK's First Four-Jet Bomber[6], Grub Street Publishing, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 51:
      An advance party from No 1 Flight had travelled this route some days previously to wherever 'Their Airships' decreed.
    • 2019 March 19, Derek J. Sharp, A Cold War Fighter Pilot in Peacetime and War[7], Fonthill Media, →ISBN, →OCLC:
      Still, when their Airships said 'Jump', we minions invariably replied 'How high?'

Derived terms[edit]



airship (third-person singular simple present airships, present participle airshipping, simple past and past participle airshipped)

  1. To transport goods by aircraft.

See also[edit]