September 28, 2016
liftoff (noun)
\LIFT-awf\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a vertical takeoff (as by a rocket)
How do you use it?
Ms. Jensen's physics class stood in a circle around the rocket they'd made, eagerly waiting for liftoff.
Are you a word wiz?

What do you think was happening around the time the word "liftoff" first appeared in English?

All systems are go if you picked answer C. "Liftoff" had its liftoff in the mid-1950s, not long before Sputnik I was launched on October 4, 1957. Space exploration began in the 1950s, and quite a few related words also had their beginnings in that decade. "Blastoff" first appeared in the early 1950s. Like the word "takeoff," it means "to begin flight," and it is used especially of rocket-driven missiles and vehicles. Another example is "launchpad," which was first used later in the decade. It refers to the nonflammable platform from which a rocket can be launched.
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