What does pilot mean?

Definitions for pilot
ˈpaɪ lətpi·lot

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word pilot.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. pilot, airplane pilotnoun

    someone who is licensed to operate an aircraft in flight

  2. pilotnoun

    a person qualified to guide ships through difficult waters going into or out of a harbor

  3. pilot program, pilot film, pilotnoun

    a program exemplifying a contemplated series; intended to attract sponsors

  4. original, archetype, pilotnoun

    something that serves as a model or a basis for making copies

    "this painting is a copy of the original"

  5. pilot burner, pilot light, pilotnoun

    small auxiliary gas burner that provides a flame to ignite a larger gas burner

  6. fender, buffer, cowcatcher, pilotverb

    an inclined metal frame at the front of a locomotive to clear the track

  7. fly, aviate, pilotverb

    operate an airplane

    "The pilot flew to Cuba"

  8. navigate, pilotverb

    act as the navigator in a car, plane, or vessel and plan, direct, plot the path and position of the conveyance

    "Is anyone volunteering to navigate during the trip?"; "Who was navigating the ship during the accident?"


  1. Pilotnoun

    (Television) a filmed or taped episode of a proposed television series, produced as an example of the series. It may be shown only to those television broadcast executives who may decide whether to buy the rights to the series, or aired to test viewer reaction or to interest sponsors. Also called pilot film or pilot tape.

  2. Pilotnoun



  1. pilotnoun

    A person who steers a ship, a helmsman.

  2. pilotnoun

    A person who knows well the depths and currents of a harbor or coastal area, who is hired by a vessel to help navigate the harbor or coast.

  3. pilotnoun

    A guide or escort through an unknown or dangerous area.

  4. pilotnoun

    A person who is in charge of the controls of an aircraft.

  5. pilotnoun

    A sample episode of a proposed TV series

  6. pilotnoun

    A cowcatcher.

  7. pilotnoun

    A pilot light.

  8. pilotverb

    To control (an aircraft or watercraft).

  9. pilotverb

    To guide (a vessel) through coastal waters.

  10. pilotverb

    To test or have a preliminary trial of (an idea, a new product, etc.)

  11. pilotadjective

    Made or used as a test or demonstration of capability. (pilot run, pilot plant)

  12. pilotadjective

    Used to control or activate another device.

  13. pilotadjective

    Used to indicate operation ("pilot lamp")

  14. Etymology: From pilot, pillot, from piloto, from pillottus; perhaps ultimately from πηδόν, hence also Ancient and Modern Greek πηδάλιον (pēdalion), "rudder".

Webster Dictionary

  1. Pilotnoun

    one employed to steer a vessel; a helmsman; a steersman

  2. Pilotnoun

    specifically, a person duly qualified, and licensed by authority, to conduct vessels into and out of a port, or in certain waters, for a fixed rate of fees

  3. Pilotnoun

    figuratively: A guide; a director of another through a difficult or unknown course

  4. Pilotnoun

    an instrument for detecting the compass error

  5. Pilotnoun

    the cowcatcher of a locomotive

  6. Pilotverb

    to direct the course of, as of a ship, where navigation is dangerous

  7. Pilotverb

    figuratively: To guide, as through dangers or difficulties

  8. Etymology: [F. pilote, prob. from D. peillood plummet, sounding lead; peilen, pegelen, to sound, measure (fr. D. & G. peil, pegel, a sort of measure, water mark) + lood lead, akin to E. lead. The pilot, then, is the lead man, i. e., he who throws the lead. See Pail, and Lead a metal.]


  1. PILOT

    Programmed Instruction, Learning, Or Teaching is a simple historic programming language developed in the 1960s. Like its younger sibling LOGO, it was an early foray into the technology of computer assisted instruction.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Pilot

    pī′lut, n. the steersman of a ship: one who conducts ships in and out of a harbour, along a dangerous coast, &c.: a guide.—v.t. to conduct as a pilot: to direct through dangerous places.—ns. Pī′lotage, the skill of a pilot: the act of piloting: the fee or wages of pilots; Pī′lot-boat, a boat used by pilots for meeting or leaving ships; Pī′lot-cloth, a coarse, stout kind of cloth for overcoats; Pī′lot-en′gine, a locomotive engine sent on before a train to clear its way, as a pilot; Pī′lot-fish, a fish of the mackerel family, so called from its having been supposed to guide sharks to their prey; Pī′lot-flag, the flag hoisted at the fore by a vessel needing a pilot; Pī′lot-house, an enclosed place on deck to shelter the steering-gear and the pilot—also Wheel-house; Pī′lot-jack′et, a pea-jacket worn by seamen; Pī′lot-whale, the caaing-whale (q.v.). [Fr. pilote—Dut. piloot, from peilen, to sound, loot (Ger. loth, Eng. lead), a sounding-lead.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. pilot

    A rough overlay to a map made by the pilot of a photographic reconnaissance aircraft during or immediately after a sortie. It shows the location, direction, number, and order of photographic runs made, together with the camera(s) used on each run.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. pilot

    An experienced person charged with the ship's course near the coasts, into roads, rivers, &c., and through all intricate channels, in his own particular district.--Branch pilot. One who is duly authorized by the Trinity board to pilot ships of the largest draft.

Editors Contribution

  1. pilot

    A person with the accurate and specific ability, experience, knowledge, skills, training and qualifications to fly an aircraft.

    The pilot was well trained and always flew safely.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 1, 2020  
  2. pilot

    To use data, information, facts, research, statistics, technology and proof to confirm the ability, priority and capacity to create a specific plan, project, program, scheme, standard, legislation or specific outcome.

    There are many pilot projects which are an intelligent idea to ensure they work efficiently and effectively and then are created on a regional or national level.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 15, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. pilot

    Song lyrics by pilot -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by pilot on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pilot' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3123

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'pilot' in Nouns Frequency: #1066

How to pronounce pilot?

How to say pilot in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of pilot in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of pilot in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of pilot in a Sentence

  1. Mike Boyd:

    It's just a different set of situations, when a pilot wants to get a plane down, he wants to get it down and he could care less about the rubber on the wheels.

  2. Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez:

    This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved, more importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries.

  3. Celia Morgan:

    Ketamine is a well-tolerated drug and can help alleviate the symptoms of depression, with a pilot study suggesting that it could cut alcohol relapse rates by more than half, this trial will allow us to examine whether ketamine, combined with therapy, can indeed help people stay abstinent from alcohol.

  4. Nigel Williams:

    When images of what appeared to be an aircraft wheel came through, you can imagine our surprise. It was only when experts investigated the images in more detail that we learnt there was a strong possibility it could be a British aircraft that served during World War Two, sadly, it appears the pilot and the crew of this particular aircraft were never able to complete their mission.

  5. Dave Mackay:

    It's all dependent on the pilot.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for pilot

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for pilot »


Find a translation for the pilot definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these pilot definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "pilot." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 29 Jun 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/pilot>.

    Are we missing a good definition for pilot? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    remove completely from recognition or memory
    • A. abase
    • B. embellish
    • C. efface
    • D. elaborate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for pilot: