Definition of blimp in US English:



  • 1informal A small nonrigid airship.

    • ‘However, western detectives flatly dismissed reports that Government's airship, the blimp, and other sophisticated radar technology were responsible for the seizure.’
    • ‘For unmanned aerial vehicles, though, inflatable wings are just the ticket, figures ILC Dover, a leading supplier of blimps and airships.’
    • ‘Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's inspired idea was to make airships rigid, so superseding the early blimps, which were fatally vulnerable to leaks from the inflammable hydrogen used to inflate them.’
    • ‘Vulnerable coastlines led to the construction of enormous hangars for surveillance blimps along the Pacific Coast.’
    • ‘Actually, the JLENS blimp is an aerostat, a blimp like vehicle designed to always turn into the wind and stay in the same place.’
    • ‘The development of radar and improvement of sonar detection also aided the blimps and airplanes, frigates, and destroyers as they sought out enemy submarines and attacked them with depth charges.’
    • ‘The towers and unmanned blimps, called aerostats, worked so well at detecting and identifying enemy forces and objects that Defense Department officials want to buy more of them.’
    • ‘The broader strokes of pressure-pattern navigation are used on a daily basis by most major airlines and many vessels at sea; even the Goodyear blimp uses the theory to select a heading for cross-country flying.’
    • ‘He put cameras on cranes, in jeeps and in the air aboard helicopters and blimps to offer yet another angle and different perspective.’
    • ‘The filmmakers used blimps, ultra-lights, speedboats, small aircraft, gliders, and specially made lenses to capture these winged marvels in flight and at rest.’
    • ‘In the 1990s he expanded his blimp company, Airship Management Services Inc., too fast.’
    • ‘I looked up, saw the blimp and some airplanes and a white rectangular shaped object, that may have been a dull silver color.’
    • ‘You won't believe what's on the screen - a fantastic universe of blimps, airplanes, robots, and whatever.’
    • ‘Lawyers are fretting that firms may try to hijack the rugby event by sending out skywriters or flying blimps during the matches.’
    • ‘In a longer range capacity, but no less hazardous, they performed similar duties in patrol bombers and blimps.’
    • ‘I thought at first it was probably a helicopter or a blimp, as we have a number of hospitals and a sports stadium in the downtown area.’
    • ‘Aerostats are packed to their fins with special radar payloads that would have mere hot air balloons, airships or blimps hissing with envy.’
    • ‘The air platforms could take the form of tethered blimps, unmanned aerial vehicles, or manned aircraft.’
    • ‘Further demonstrations lead to the building of a blimp for the modern age - the Hindenburg II - powered solely by fuel cells.’
    • ‘Sources in the Special Anti-Crime Unit said it was intelligence gathered from the blimp airship which informed yesterday's historic seizure.’
    1. 1.1North American An obese person.
      ‘I could work out four hours a day and still end up a blimp’
      • ‘Remember the Poker Champion pictures where he was a real blimp? He looks great.’
      • ‘At eight, two years after the birth of his half-sister, his mother had ballooned into a blimp.’
      • ‘The writer's epitaph saluted him as a ‘supreme clubman, boozer and blimp.’’
      • ‘I was skinny just a year ago, but at the rate I'm going I'll be a real blimp soon!’
      • ‘Oh my God, hey, just jump back and make a little way for the blimp in the blue hat.’
  • 2British A pompous, reactionary type of person.

    ‘no Colonel Blimp could have been more nationalistic’
    • ‘Moreover Drummond isn't your average Colonel Blimp reactionary; yes, he deplores the fixation with populist culture but he is essentially a modernist at heart.’
    • ‘Those who read Mr Cooper's article will discover that he is anything but a Colonel Blimp and that he does not have much in common with historical liberal imperialism either.’
    • ‘It is sad to find the editor of one of the few outlets in favour of radical change adopting the attitude, and language, of a Colonel Blimp.’
    • ‘It's depressingly like the cartoon of a Colonel Blimp character sitting in an armchair beneath the huge head of a white rhino, explaining that he ‘thought he'd better bag one fast in case this conservation business doesn't work out.’’
    • ‘I've often wished those letters-page bores and blimps who see every refugee arrival as evidence of New Zealand's ‘softness’ could have sat and talked to that senior sergeant about his experience in the real world.’
    right-winger, conservative, rightist, diehard, colonel blimp
    View synonyms
  • 3A soundproof cover for a movie camera.

    • ‘The Nikon CS-13 Blimp Case is a black imitation leather case made to hold a Nikon camera with a motor drive and a lens attached.’
    • ‘If your camera is disturbing the peace in court, on the golf course or any other venue where silence is golden, photojournalist Sam Cranston's US$125 Camera Muzzle sound blimp for pro film and digital SLR cameras may be for you.’
    • ‘It compares the sound levels (with audio clips) of the camera running by itself, the camera running in the Custom Upholstery Products Barney, and the camera running in the ARRI Lightweight Fibre Glass Blimp 16.’
    • ‘With this type of anti-reflection protection system attached to the blimp, the sound in the terminal area of the outside mount and of the lens case facing away from the camera case can also be insulated as much as possible.’
    • ‘I've heard a rumor that at some point a blimp was made for this camera, but I've had no luck finding one.’


First World War (in blimp (sense 2 of the noun)): of uncertain origin. blimp (sense 1 of the noun) derives from the character invented by cartoonist David Low, used in anti-German or antigovernment drawings before and during the Second World War.