A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who pioneered rigid airship development at the beginning of the 20th century. Zeppelin's ideas were first formulated in 1874 and developed in detail in 1893. They were patented in Germany in 1895 and in the United States in 1899.

A Zeppelin is a powered lighter than air vehicle with a self-supporting hull and unpressurized gas bags. The word comes from the founder of the company which built most aircraft of this type, but is now used for all lighter-than-air vehicles with a rigid structure.