verbflew, flown, fly·ing, flies,
- To engage in flight, especially:
a. To move through the air by means of wings or winglike parts.
b. To travel by air: We flew to Dallas.
c. To operate an aircraft or spacecraft.
a. To rise in or be carried through the air by the wind: a kite flying above the playground.
b. To float or flap in the air: pennants flying from the masthead.
- To move or be sent through the air with great speed: bullets flying in every direction; a plate that flew from my hands when I stumbled.
a. To move with great speed; rush or dart: The children flew down the hall.
b. To be communicated to many people: Rumors are flying about their breakup.
c. To flee; escape.
d. To hasten; spring: flew to her students' defense.
- To pass by swiftly: a vacation flying by.
- To be dissipated; vanish: All his money has flown.
- past tense and past participle flied, Baseball To hit a fly ball.
a. To shatter or explode: The dropped plate flew into pieces.
b. To become suddenly emotional, especially angry: The driver flew into a rage.
- Informal To gain acceptance or approval; go over: “However sophisticated the reasoning, this particular notion may not fly” ( New York Times )
a. To cause to fly or float in the air: fly a kite; fly a flag.
b. Nautical To operate under (a particular flag): a tanker that flies the Liberian flag.
a. To pilot (an aircraft or spacecraft).
b. To carry or transport in an aircraft or spacecraft: fly emergency supplies to a stricken area.
c. To pass over or through in flight: flew the coastal route in record time.
d. To perform in a spacecraft or aircraft: flew six missions into space.
a. To flee or run from: fly a place in panic.
b. To avoid; shun: fly temptation.
noun pl. flies
Phrasal Verbs: fly at
- The act of flying; flight.
a. The opening, or the fastening that closes this opening, on the front of a pair of pants.
b. The flap of cloth that covers this opening.
- A piece of protective fabric secured over a tent and often extended over the entrance.
- A flyleaf.
- Baseball A fly ball.
- Sports In swimming, butterfly.
a. The span of a flag from the staff to the outer edge.
b. The outer edge of a flag.
- A flywheel.
- flies The area directly over the stage of a theater, containing overhead lights, drop curtains, and equipment for raising and lowering sets.
- Chiefly British A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.
To attack fiercely; assault: The dogs flew at each other's throats.
Origin of fly
Middle English flien from
Old English flēogan
; see pleu-
in Indo-European roots.
- (zoology) Any insect of the order Diptera; characterized by having two wings, also called true flies.
- (non-technical) Especially, any of the insects of the family Muscidae, such as the common housefly (other families of Diptera include mosquitoes and midges).
- Any similar, but unrelated insect such as dragonfly or butterfly.
- (fishing) A lightweight fishing lure resembling an insect.
- (weightlifting) A chest exercise performed by moving extended arms from the sides to in front of the chest. (also flye)
From Old English flȳġe, flēoge. Cognate with Scots flee, Dutch vlieg, German Fliege, Swedish fluga.
(third-person singular simple present flies, present participle flying, simple past flew, past participle flown)
- (intransitive) To travel through the air, another gas, or a vacuum, without being in contact with a grounded surface.
- Birds of passage fly to warmer regions as it gets colder in winter. The Concorde flew from Paris to New York faster than any other passenger airplane. It takes about eleven hours to fly from Frankfurt to Hongkong. The little fairy flew home on the back of her friend, the giant eagle.
- (intransitive, archaic, poetic) To flee, to escape (from).
- Fly, my lord! The enemy are upon us!
- (ergative) To cause to fly (travel or float in the air): to transport via air or the like.
- Charles Lindbergh flew his airplane The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic ocean. Why don’t you go outside and fly kites, kids? The wind is just perfect. Birds fly their prey to their nest to feed it to their young. Each day the post flies thousands of letters around the globe.
- (intransitive, colloquial, of a proposal, project or idea) To be accepted, come about or work out.
- Let's see if that idea flies. You know, I just don't think that's going to fly. Why don't you spend your time on something better?
- (intransitive) To travel very fast.
- To move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly.
- a door flies open; a bomb flies apart
- To hunt with a hawk.
- An act of flying.
- We had a quick half-hour fly back into the city.
- (baseball) A fly ball.
- (historical) A type of small, fast carriage (sometimes pluralised flys).
- A piece of canvas that covers the opening at the front of a tent.
- A strip of material hiding the zipper, buttons etc. at the front of a pair of trousers, pants, underpants, bootees, etc.
- The free edge of a flag.
- The horizontal length of a flag.
- Butterfly, a form of swimming.
- (weightlifting) An exercise that involves wide opening and closing of the arms perpendicular to the shoulders.
- The part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows.
- (nautical) That part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card.
- Two or more vanes set on a revolving axis, to act as a fanner, or to equalize or impede the motion of machinery by the resistance of the air, as in the striking part of a clock.
- A heavy wheel, or cross arms with weights at the ends on a revolving axis, to regulate or equalize the motion of machinery by means of its inertia, where the power communicated, or the resistance to be overcome, is variable, as in the steam engine or the coining press. See fly wheel.
- In a knitting machine, the piece hinged to the needle, which holds the engaged loop in position while the needle is penetrating another loop; a latch.
- The pair of arms revolving around the bobbin, in a spinning wheel or spinning frame, to twist the yarn.
- (weaving) A shuttle driven through the shed by a blow or jerk.
- (printing, historical) The person who took the printed sheets from the press.
- (printing, historical) A vibrating frame with fingers, attached to a power printing press for doing the same work.
- One of the upper screens of a stage in a theatre.
(third-person singular simple present flies, present participle flying, simple past and past participle flied)
- (intransitive, baseball) To hit a fly ball; to hit a fly ball that is caught for an out. Compare ground (verb) and line (verb).
- Jones flied to right in his last at-bat.
From Middle English flien, from Old English flēogan, from Proto-Germanic *fleuganą (compare Saterland Frisian fljooge, Dutch vliegen, Low German flegen, German fliegen, Danish flyve), from Proto-Indo-European *pleuk-, *pleu-k- (cf. Lithuanian plaũkti ‘to swim’), enlargement of *pleu- ‘flow’. More at flow.
(comparative flier, superlative fliest)
- (slang, dated) Quick-witted, alert, mentally sharp, smart (in a mental sense).
- be assured, O man of sin—pilferer of small wares and petty larcener—that there is an eye within keenly glancing from some loophole contrived between accordions and tin breastplates that watches your every movement, and is "fly,"— to use a term peculiarly comprehensible to dishonest minds—to the slightest gesture of illegal conveyancing. (Charles Dickens, "Arcadia"; Household Words Vol.7 p.381)
- (slang) Well dressed, smart in appearance.
- He's pretty fly for a white guy.
- (slang) Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.
Origin uncertain; probably from the verb or noun.