Definition of "crew" on Lexico

A group of people working on a ship, aircraft, etc. other than the officers.

Definition of "manned" on Lexico

(of an aircraft or spacecraft) having a human crew.

The phrase "human crew" is being used in the definition above and lots of posts talking about aircraft and spacecraft.

The word crew means "a group of people", which makes the phrase "human crew" a little bit wordy.

Is my understanding correct?

Why do people use just one word "crew"?

an aircraft having a crew

1 Answer 1


It is possible (albeit rare) to talk about a "robot crew".

The point in the definition is that a "manned rocket" is one with "humans" on board. So if we are writing a definition lets put that important word right there. It makes it easier to understand. And the definition of a word should be easier to understand than the word itself.

In most other contexts you are right, you don't normally need to say "human" crew. You only would use it when you want to emphasise or contrast the "human" aspect.

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    As a side note, NASA uses the term crewed rather than manned. Although most people don't seem to have changed their own language yet, NASA switched their vocabulary many decades ago ((I only became aware of this recently). May 30, 2020 at 14:59
  • @JasonBassford Thank you. Latest use in NASA is "crewed rocket" instead of "manned rocket", which means it is designed for carrying on humans, right?
    – PutBere
    Jun 3, 2020 at 3:30
  • @PutBere Well, possibly. From Wikiepeda: "The first primate astronaut was Albert, a rhesus macaque, who on June 11, 1948, rode to over 63 km (39 mi) on a V-2 rocket." If a monkey can be considered an astronaut, and this was only the first of several monkeys in space, then it would be strange to not think of them as crew members too. Jun 3, 2020 at 7:21

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