General English

General Science


  • noun a person who operates an aircraft in flight
  • noun the part of a system or device that leads the whole


  • noun a test project, undertaken to see whether something is likely to be successful or profitable


  • adjective used as a test, which if successful will then be expanded into a full operation
  • verb to test a project on a small number of people, to see if it will work in practice



  • A signal transmitted via a pilot channel. Also called pilot signal.
  • (written as PILOT)
    Acronym for Programmed Inquiry Learning or Teaching. A high-level programming language used, for instance, to develop interactive tutorials.
  • acronym forProgrammed Inquiry Learning or Teaching
    (written as PILOT)

Information & Library Science

  • adjective done as a small test of a potential larger project
  • verb to use a small-scale test to investigate whether a larger-scale operation will work


  • noun a trial episode of a proposed TV series

Media Studies

  • noun a television or radio programme made as an experiment, to test audience reaction to an idea for a possible new series


  • noun a person employed to take control of ships which are entering or leaving a harbour, or passing through a waterway
  • verb to act as a pilot on an aircraft or ship


  • noun somebody who flies a plane

Origin & History of “pilot”

Pilot comes ultimately from a Greek word for ‘oar’, pēdón, which went back to the same Indo-European base as produced English foot. Its plural, pēdá, was used for ‘rudder’, and from this was derived medieval Greek *pēdṓtēs ‘rudder, helmsman’. This in turn was borrowed into medieval Latin as pedota, which was later altered to pilotus – whence, via French, English pilot. For most of its career in English, of course, the word has been used in connection with the steering of ships, but in the middle of the 19th century it began to be applied to the steering of balloons, and the first record of its modern use for ‘flier of an aeroplane’ comes from 1907.