also aërial, c. 1600, "pertaining to the air," from Latin aerius "airy, aerial, lofty, high" (from Greek aerios "of the air, pertaining to air," from aer "air;" see air (n.1)). With adjectival suffix -al (1). Also in English "consisting of air," hence, figuratively, "of a light and graceful beauty; insubstantial" (c. 1600). From 1915 as "by means of aircraft." From the Latin collateral form aereus comes the alternative English spelling aereal.
1902, short for aerial antenna, etc.