The Italian word for airplane is aeroplano. It derives from the Latin aer (air) and planus (plane) via the French aéroplane (which has since been replaced by avion).
It is a masculine noun starting with a vowel, so it takes the following definite and indefinite articles:
- l’aeroplano = the airplane
- gli aeroplani = the airplanes
- un aeroplano = an airplane
- (degli) aeroplani = (some) airplanes
Contrary to popular belief, the everyday term for airplane, aereo, isn’t an abbreviation of aeroplano but rather the noun form of the adjective aereo (aerial / air). It can be seen in words like attacco aereo (air attack) and posta aerea (air mail). Curiously, many Italians tend to mispronounce and misspell the word as *aereoplano due to the belief that aereo is a derivative of aeroplano!
A colloquial form of this word is areoplano, with the letters ‘e’ and ‘r’ inverted.
Questo aeroplano è molto grande!
Questo areoplano è molto grande!
This airplane is really big!
A jet plane in Italian is known as an aeroplano a reazione, although the english word is also used. A small aircraft can be described as piccolo aeroplano (the diminutive aeroplanino also exists but is not common).
Here are a few useful verbs you will see used with aereo. Note that with verbs, it is rare to use the full form aeroplano.
- andare in aereo = to go by plane
- pilotare un aereo = to fly a plane
- prendere un aereo = to catch/take a plane
- perdere un aereo = to miss a plane
- viaggiare in aereo = to travel by plane
- salire su un aereo = to get on a plane
- scendere da un aereo = to get off a plane
Sbrighiamoci, non vogliamo perdere l’aereo!
Let’s hurry up, we don’t want to miss the plane!
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.