Can you please give me some good kennings for an airplane?

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This is a cool question. Kennings are a lot of fun to read and create. We don't see too many kennings in modern English. They are more specific to Old English and Old Norse poetry. A kenning is a metaphorical compound word or phrase that is used in place of a more concrete single word noun. For example, a boat could be called a "wave traveler" or a "sea steed." For an airplane, I like "air beast." You could easily modify the previous boat examples to work for an airplane. "Wind traveler" and "sky steed" both sound way more descriptive than "jet." "Sky streaker" isn't bad because of the contrails that they leave at high altitudes. So far, the kennings listed all make an airplane sound more glorious; however, you can use a kenning to make an airplane (specifically an airliner) sound quite boring—"sky bus."

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A kenning is a figure of speech in which two or more figurative words are used instead one word that is more concrete and literal.  For example, in Beowulf the sea is sometimes referred to as the "whale road."  There are a number of ways that one might do this for an airplane.

  • Perhaps the most obvious one of this would be "air ship."  But that has an English meaning of its own so you might say "ship of the air."  Or perhaps you could say "sky ship."
  • You might draw on the Aladdin stories and call an airplane a "roc of iron" because the roc was a bird that was large enough for at least one person to ride on without being noticed.
  • Similarly, you could call it a "metal dragon" for the fact that it flies and makes a roaring sound as it passes.  This would be especially apt for a warplane.

 

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