Etymology
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pilot (n.)

1510s, "one who steers a ship," especially one who has charge of the helm when the ship is passing in or out of harbor, from French pillote (16c.), from Italian piloto, supposed to be an alteration of Old Italian pedoto, which usually is said to be from Medieval Greek *pedotes "rudder, helmsman," from Greek pedon "steering oar," related to pous (genitive podos) "foot," from PIE root *ped- "foot." The change of -d- to -l- in Latin-derived languages ("Sabine -l-") parallels that in odor/olfactory; see lachrymose.

The transferred or figurative sense "a guide, a director of the course of others" is by 1590s. The literal sense was extended by 1848 to "one who controls a balloon," and by 1907 to "one who flies an airplane."

As an adjective, 1788 as "pertaining to a pilot;" from 1928 as "serving as a prototype," thus the noun pilot meaning "pilot episode" (etc.), attested from 1962. A pilot light (by 1890) is a very small light kept burning beside a large burner to automatically light the main burner when the flow is turned on.

pilot (v.)

1640s, figurative, "to guide, to lead, direct the course of, especially through an intricate or perilous passage;" 1690s in the literal sense "to conduct (a vessel) as a pilot," from pilot (n.) or from French piloter. Related: Piloted; piloting.

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Definitions of pilot
1
pilot (n.)
someone who is licensed to operate an aircraft in flight;
Synonyms: airplane pilot
pilot (n.)
a person qualified to guide ships through difficult waters going into or out of a harbor;
pilot (n.)
a program exemplifying a contemplated series; intended to attract sponsors;
Synonyms: pilot program / pilot film
pilot (n.)
something that serves as a model or a basis for making copies;
Synonyms: original / archetype
pilot (n.)
small auxiliary gas burner that provides a flame to ignite a larger gas burner;
Synonyms: pilot burner / pilot light
pilot (n.)
an inclined metal frame at the front of a locomotive to clear the track;
Synonyms: fender / buffer / cowcatcher
2
pilot (v.)
operate an airplane;
The pilot flew to Cuba
Synonyms: fly / aviate
pilot (v.)
act as the navigator in a car, plane, or vessel and plan, direct, plot the path and position of the conveyance;
Synonyms: navigate
From wordnet.princeton.edu