1824, "art of aerial navigation by means of a balloon," from aeronautic (1784), from French aéronautique, from aéro- (see aero-) + nautique "of ships," from Latin nauticus, from Greek nautikos "pertaining to sailing" (see nautical). Originally of hot-air balloons. Also see -ics. Aeronaut "balloonist" is from 1784, from French aéronaute.
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