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Airplane vs. Aeroplane: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 2, 2024
"Airplane" and "aeroplane" have the same meaning, referring to a powered flying vehicle with wings. "Airplane" is the American English term, while "aeroplane" is used in British English.

Key Differences

The words "airplane" and "aeroplane" refer to the same flying vehicle, with the primary difference being their spelling. "Airplane" is the American English version, while "aeroplane" is the British English version. Each word is recognized and understood in both forms of English, although their usage varies regionally.
The term "airplane" in American English and "aeroplane" in British English both originate from the Greek word 'aēr' meaning 'air' and the French word 'planer' meaning 'to soar'. The difference in spelling reflects the evolution of language and regional preferences in English-speaking countries.
In literature and media, "airplane" is commonly used in American publications, while "aeroplane" is more likely to appear in British works. This distinction in usage extends to educational texts and aviation literature in the respective regions.
The choice between "airplane" and "aeroplane" can also signify the influence of American or British English on other English-speaking countries. For instance, former British colonies might lean towards "aeroplane," whereas countries with stronger American cultural influence might prefer "airplane."
For English language learners, understanding that "airplane" and "aeroplane" are interchangeable is important. This helps in comprehending texts from different English-speaking regions without confusion over the meaning.

Comparison Chart



Region of Predominant Use

American English
British English

Variants in Other Countries

Preferred in countries with American influence
Preferred in countries with British influence

Usage in Literature

Common in American publications
Common in British publications


Universally recognized but American-centric
Universally recognized but British-centric

Airplane and Aeroplane Definitions


A powered flying vehicle with fixed wings.
The airplane soared gracefully above the clouds.


A vehicle capable of atmospheric flight due to its wing structure.
He dreamed of being an aeroplane pilot as a child.


A machine that transports people or cargo through the air.
She took an airplane to visit her family overseas.


A machine that flies by gaining support from the air.
The museum displayed models of early aeroplanes.


A vehicle designed for air travel, with wings and one or more engines.
The airport was busy with airplanes taking off and landing.


A powered flying vehicle with wings and a tail, used for transport.
An aeroplane flew overhead, leaving a white trail.


An aircraft heavier than air, propelled by jet or propeller.
The pilot expertly navigated the airplane through the storm.


A heavier-than-air aircraft with fixed wings for lift.
The aeroplane banked sharply to the left during the air show.


A mode of transportation that flies in the atmosphere.
Their first airplane ride was an exciting adventure.


A winged aircraft propelled by jet engines or propellers.
They watched the aeroplane ascend into the sky.


Any of various winged vehicles capable of flight, generally heavier than air and driven by jet engines or propellers.


Variant of airplane.


A powered heavier-than-air aircraft with fixed wings.


A powered heavier-than-air aircraft with fixed wings.


(intransitive) To fly in an aeroplane.


(transitive) To transport by aeroplane.


A heavier-than-air aircraft. Same as aeroplane{2}.


An aircraft that has a fixed wing and is powered by propellers or jets;
The flight was delayed due to trouble with the airplane


"airplane" or "aeroplane"?

Both are correct; "airplane" is American English, and "aeroplane" is British English.

Is "aeroplane" used in American English?

It's less common, with "airplane" being the preferred term.

Are "airplane" and "aeroplane" the same?

Yes, they refer to the same flying vehicle but have different regional spellings.

Why do the spellings differ?

The difference reflects the evolution and regional preferences in English.

Does the meaning change with spelling?

No, both words mean the same regardless of spelling.

Can "airplane" refer to military aircraft?

Yes, it includes both civilian and military fixed-wing aircraft.

Do English learners need to know both terms?

Yes, for comprehensive understanding of regional English variations.

Can "airplane" be used in British English?

Yes, it's understood but "aeroplane" is more common.

Are there pronunciation differences?

Pronunciation is generally the same, though accents may vary.

Are there specific contexts where one term is preferred?

"Airplane" is preferred in American contexts, "aeroplane" in British contexts.

Do technical definitions differ between "airplane and "aeroplane"?

No, technical definitions are the same in aviation.

In international travel, which term is more common?

"Airplane" tends to be more common in international travel contexts.

Do these terms include all types of aircraft?

They specifically refer to heavier-than-air, powered aircraft with fixed wings.

Is "aeroplane" used in aviation globally?

Yes, but "airplane" is more prevalent in international aviation.

Is one spelling more modern than the other?

No, both are modern but regionally preferred.

Are there other differences in aviation terminology?

Some other aviation terms may vary, but these are universally understood.

Has the usage of these terms changed over time?

The usage has remained fairly consistent, with regional preferences prevailing.

Does the choice of term affect communication in aviation?

No, both terms are understood in the aviation community.

Are there variations in spelling in other English-speaking countries?

Yes, countries may lean towards either American or British English spellings.

Is one term older than the other?

Both terms originated around the same time in the early 20th century.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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