Whirlybird / noun / whirly·bird
We use the noun "whirlybird" as another word for a helicopter. In 1951, we started using "whirlybird" instead of helicopter. A "whirlybird" is an aircraft powered by a lift. It takes off and lands vertically, using rotating blades to propel itself across the sky.
"Whirlybirds" can move in any direction while in flight. They also have the ability to hover in a stationary position in the sky, making them ideal for getting in and out of areas where other aircraft cannot fly.
In a Sentence
The "whirlybird" flew in so quietly they didn't realize it was hovering above them.
Be careful when entering and exiting a "whirlybird," the blades are sharp!
They charted a "whirlybird" to fly over the city and get the best view of the magnificent night skyline.
The exact origin of the word "whirlybird" is unknown. Etymologists report that they probably derived it from the Old Norse word "whirl," which means "to go round or spin." There is also some speculation that "whirlybird" has ties to early Old English words that mean "to turn."
We see the first use of the word "whirlybird" in English around 1951 to describe helicopters that land and take off vertically. We recorded the first "whirlybird" flight in France on November 13, 1907.