The word aerodrome derives from
ἀήρ (aḗr), air, and
δρόμος (drómos), road or course, literally meaning air course. An ancient linguistic parallel is
hippodrome (a stadium for
horse racing and
chariot racing), derived from
ἵππος (híppos), horse, and
δρόμος (drómos), course.
In British military usage, the
Royal Flying Corps in the
First World War and the
Royal Air Force in the First and
Second World Wars used the term—it had the advantage that their French allies, on whose soil they were often based and with whom they co-operated, used the
cognate term aérodrome.
 aerodrome is a legal
term of art for any area of land or water used for aircraft operation, regardless of facilities.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) documents use the term aerodrome, for example, in the Annex to the ICAO Convention about aerodromes, their physical characteristics, and their operation. However, the terms airfield or
airport mostly superseded use of aerodrome after World War II.