Origin: Fr hélicoptère: see helico- & ptero-
intransitive verb, transitive verb
See helicopter in American Heritage Dictionary 4
Origin: French hélicoptère
Origin: : Greek helix, helik-, spiral; see helix
Origin: + Greek pteron, wing; see -pter. Word History: The two Greek words that are the origin of helicopter may be particularly hard for English speakers to spot. Helicopter was borrowed from the French word hélicoptère, a word constructed from Greek heliko- and pteron, “wing.” Heliko-, the combining form of helix, “spiral,” has given us helico-, which can be joined with other words and word forms to create new words. The consonant cluster pt in pteron begins many Greek words but relatively few English words. English speakers unfamiliar with Greek are thus not likely to recognize the word's elements as helico-pter; many analyze the word into the elements heli-copter, as is shown by the clipped form copter.
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