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empennage (ahm-puh-NAZH) noun
The tail assembly of an aircraft.
[From French empennage (feathers of an arrow), from empenner (to feather an arrow), from em- + penner, from penne (feather), from Latin penna (feather).]
Some other words derived from the same root are panache, pen, pin, pinnacle, and pennant. A picture of empennage.
"One cold, rainy afternoon on the roof of London's Heathrow airport,
I came upon 20 men (and one woman) carefully noting the tail numbers --
the unique registration painted on the empennage of all commercial
aircraft -- of each jet that took off and landed. (On a holiday, I was
later told, there can be as many as 200 people.) Their hobby is the
aviation equivalent of train-spotting."
"The brown stripe runs the length of the white fuselage along the window
line and the UPS logo is printed in gold on the brown empennage."
This week's theme: words from aviation.
A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)
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