noun Also air lift.
- a system for transporting persons or cargo by aircraft, especially in an emergency.
- the persons or cargo so transported.
- the act or process of transporting such a load.
- a pump for raising liquids by the pressure of air forced into the pump chamber.
verb (used with object)
- to transport (persons or cargo) by airlift.
- of or relating to an airlift or airlifts: to increase the army’s airlift capacity.
- the transportation by air of passengers, troops, cargo, etc, esp when other routes are blocked
- (tr) to transport by an airlift
also air-lift, 1893 as a type of pumping device; 1945 in the sense “transportation of supplies by air,” from air (n.1) + lift (n.). As a verb by 1949; popularized in reference to the response to the West Berlin blockade. Related: Air-lifted; air-lifting.