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13
Mar
2012
2:40 mins
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<p><strong><font color="#000066">Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 14, 2012 is:</font></strong></p>
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<strong>volplane</strong> &#149; \VAHL-playn\&nbsp; &#149; <em>verb</em><br />
1 : to glide in or as if in an airplane 2 a <em>a of an airplane</em> : to descend gradually in controlled flight b : to fly in a glider <br />
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<strong>Examples:</strong><br />
An eagle soared and <em>volplaned</em> gracefully across the sky.<br /><br />&quot;Does it [the northern flying squirrel] really fly: No. It glides (or &quot;<em>volplanes</em>&quot;) and always in a downward direction. &#151; From an article by Nicholas Read in <em>The Vancouver Sun</em> (British Columbia), October 18, 2008<br />
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<strong>Did you know?</strong><br />
&quot;Vol plan&#233;&quot; (meaning &quot;gliding flight&quot;) was a phrase first used by 19th-century French ornithologists to describe downward flight by birds; it contrasted with &quot;vol &#224; voile&quot; (&quot;soaring flight&quot;). Around the time Orville and Wilbur Wright were promoting their latest &quot;aeroplane&quot; in France, the noun and the verb &quot;volplane&quot; soared to popularity in America as terms describing the daring dives by aviators (<em>Fly Magazine</em> reported in 1910, &quot;The French flyers are noted for their thrilling spirals and vol planes from the sky&quot;). The avian-to-aviator generalization was fitting, since the Wright brothers had studied the flight of birds in designing their planes.<br /><br />
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