Fly definition

flī
(slang) Fashionable, stylish, attractive, etc.
adjective
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2
Any of various other flying insects, such as a caddisfly.
noun
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1
Any of numerous insects of the order Diptera, having one pair of wings and large compound eyes. Flies include the houseflies, horseflies, and mosquitoes.
1
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Fly means to move through the air, often with wings.

An example of fly is for a plane to soar through the sky.

verb
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The definition of a fly is an insect that soars through the air and has transparent wings.

An example of fly is a bug that gathers around old food.

noun
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A fly is defined as a flap of cloth in a garment that hides the closure like a zipper or buttons.

An example of a fly is the flap in the front of jeans that covers the zipper.

noun
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(baseball) To hit a fly ball.
verb
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(informal) To gain acceptance or approval; go over.
verb
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To rise in or be carried through the air by the wind.

A kite flying above the playground.

verb
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To move with great speed; rush or dart.

The children flew down the hall.

verb
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To be communicated to many people.

Rumors are flying about their breakup.

verb
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To flee; escape.
verb
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To hasten; spring.

Flew to her students' defense.

verb
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To shatter or explode.

The dropped plate flew into pieces.

verb
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To become suddenly emotional, especially angry.

The driver flew into a rage.

verb
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To cause to fly or float in the air.

Fly a kite; fly a flag.

verb
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(nautical) To operate under (a particular flag).

A tanker that flies the Liberian flag.

verb
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To pilot (an aircraft or spacecraft).
verb
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To carry or transport in an aircraft or spacecraft.

Fly emergency supplies to a stricken area.

verb
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To pass over or through in flight.

Flew the coastal route in record time.

verb
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To perform in a spacecraft or aircraft.

Flew six missions into space.

verb
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To flee or run from.

Fly a place in panic.

verb
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To avoid; shun.

Fly temptation.

verb
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(chiefly british) A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.
noun
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The opening, or the fastening that closes this opening, on the front of a pair of pants.
noun
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The flap of cloth that covers this opening.
noun
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The span of a flag from the staff to the outer edge.
noun
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The outer edge of a flag.
noun
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A fishing lure simulating a fly, made by attaching materials such as feathers, tinsel, and colored thread to a fishhook.
noun
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Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially any of the family Muscidae, which includes the housefly.
noun
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Any of various other flying insects, such as a caddisfly.
noun
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To use (a hawk) to hunt game.
verb
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(theater) To suspend (flats, lights, etc.) in the space above the stage.
verb
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To cause to float in the air.

Fly a kite.

verb
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To display (a flag) as from a pole.
verb
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To travel over in an aircraft.
verb
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To travel via (a particular airline, aircraft, etc.)
verb
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(football) A pass pattern in which the receiver runs straight up the field at full speed.
noun
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(theater) The space behind and above the proscenium arch, containing overhead lights, raised flats, etc.
noun
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A garment closure consisting of a zipper, buttons, etc. and typically concealed by a fold or flap of cloth.
noun
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Such a closure in the front of a pair of men's or boys' trousers.
noun
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Such a fold or flap.
noun
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A flap serving as the door of a tent.
noun
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A piece of fabric serving as an outer or second top on a tent.
noun
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The length of an extended flag measured from the staff outward.
noun
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The outside edge of a flag.
noun
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A hook covered with feathers, colored silk, etc. to resemble an insect, used as a lure in fishing: a wet fly drifts below the surface of the water, and a dry fly floats on it.
noun
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(printing) A device on a flatbed press for removing and stacking the printed sheets.
noun
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Any dipterous insect; esp., the housefly.
noun
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Any of several four-winged insects from various orders, as the mayfly or caddis fly.
noun
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(zoology) Any insect of the order Diptera; characterized by having two wings, also called true flies.
noun
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(non-technical) Especially, any of the insects of the family Muscidae, such as the common housefly (other families of Diptera include mosquitoes and midges).
noun
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Any similar, but unrelated insect such as dragonfly or butterfly.
noun
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(fishing) A lightweight fishing lure resembling an insect.
noun
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(weightlifting) A chest exercise performed by moving extended arms from the sides to in front of the chest. (also flye)
noun
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(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.

verb
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(intransitive, archaic, poetic) To flee, to escape (from).

Fly, my lord! The enemy are upon us!

verb
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(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.

verb
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(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?

verb
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(intransitive) To travel very fast.
verb
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To move suddenly, or with violence; to do an act suddenly or swiftly.

A door flies open; a bomb flies apart.

verb
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To hunt with a hawk.

verb
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An act of flying.

We had a quick half-hour fly back into the city.

noun
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(baseball) A fly ball.
noun
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(historical) A type of small, fast carriage (sometimes pluralised flys).
noun
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A piece of canvas that covers the opening at the front of a tent.
noun
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A strip of material hiding the zipper, buttons etc. at the front of a pair of trousers, pants, underpants, bootees, etc.
noun
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The free edge of a flag.
noun
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The horizontal length of a flag.
noun
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Butterfly, a form of swimming.
noun
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(weightlifting) An exercise that involves wide opening and closing of the arms perpendicular to the shoulders.
noun
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The part of a vane pointing the direction from which the wind blows.
noun
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(nautical) That part of a compass on which the points are marked; the compass card.

noun
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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.
noun
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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.
noun
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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.

noun
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The pair of arms revolving around the bobbin, in a spinning wheel or spinning frame, to twist the yarn.
noun
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(weaving) A shuttle driven through the shed by a blow or jerk.

noun
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(printing, historical) The person who took the printed sheets from the press.
noun
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(printing, historical) A vibrating frame with fingers, attached to a power printing press for doing the same work.
noun
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One of the upper screens of a stage in a theatre.
noun
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(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.

verb
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(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)

adjective
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(slang) Well dressed, smart in appearance.

He's pretty fly for a white guy.

adjective
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(slang) Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.
adjective
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(rare) The act of flying; flight.
noun
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To operate (an aircraft or spacecraft)
verb
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3
To carry or transport in an aircraft.
verb
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3
To float or flap in the air.

Pennants flying from the masthead.

verb
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2
(slang) Fashionable; stylish.
adjective
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2
A regulating device, as for a clockwork mechanism, consisting of vanes radiating from a rotating shaft.
noun
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(brit.) A hackney carriage.
noun
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2
(baseball) A ball batted high in the air, esp. within the foul lines.
noun
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(chiefly brit., slang) Alert and knowing; sharp; quick.
adjective
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(place) River in S New Guinea, flowing through Papua New Guinea into the Coral Sea: c. 650 mi (1,046 km)
proper name
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Any of numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially any of the family Muscidae, which includes the housefly.
noun
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2
(chiefly british) Mentally alert; sharp.
adjective
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7
(baseball) To hit a fly.
verb
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5
To run away from; flee from; avoid.
verb
2
4
To hunt with a hawk.
verb
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3
To engage in flight, especially:
  • To move through the air by means of wings or winglike parts.
  • To travel by air.
    We flew to Dallas.
  • To operate an aircraft or spacecraft.
verb
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To pass by swiftly.

A vacation flying by.

verb
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To be dissipated; vanish.

All his money has flown.

verb
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The act of flying; flight.
noun
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A piece of protective fabric secured over a tent and often extended over the entrance.
noun
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A flyleaf.
noun
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(baseball) A fly ball.
noun
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2
(sports) In swimming, butterfly.
noun
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2
A flywheel.
noun
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2
The area directly over the stage of a theater, containing overhead lights, drop curtains, and equipment for raising and lowering sets.
noun
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2
To move through the air.
  • To move through the air by using wings, as a bird does.
  • To travel through the air in an aircraft or through space in a spacecraft.
  • To be propelled through the air.
verb
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To operate an aircraft or spacecraft.
verb
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To wave or float in the air, as a flag or kite does.
verb
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To move swiftly.

The door flew open.

verb
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To appear to pass swiftly.

Time flies.

verb
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To be used up swiftly.
verb
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To run away; flee.
verb
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(informal) To be successful, acceptable, etc.

That explanation just won't fly.

verb
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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.

verb
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fly high
  • To be elated:
    They were flying high after their first child was born.
idiom
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(informal) fly off the handle
  • To become suddenly enraged:
    Flew off the handle when the train was finally canceled.
idiom
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let fly
  • To shoot, hurl, or release:
    The troops let fly a volley of gunfire.
  • To lash out; assault:
    The mayor let fly with an angry attack on her critics.
idiom
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1
on the fly
  • In a hurry or between pressing activities:
    Took lunch on the fly.
  • While moving:
    The outfielder caught the ball on the fly.
  • In the air; in flight:
    The ball carried 500 feet on the fly.
  • While activity is ongoing:
    A coach can change players on the fly in hockey. This computer program compiles on the fly when a script is executed.
idiom
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1
fly in the ointment
  • A detrimental circumstance or detail; a drawback.
idiom
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1
fly at
  • to attack suddenly by or as by flying or springing toward
idiom
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fly into
  • to have a violent outburst of
    fly into a rage.
idiom
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fly off
  • to go away quickly or suddenly; hurry off
idiom
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fly out
  • to be put out by hitting a fly that is caught by a fielder
idiom
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let fly (at)
  • to shoot or throw (at)
  • to direct a verbal attack (at)
idiom
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on the fly
  • while in flight
  • while in a hurry or while doing something else
idiom
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fly in the ointment
  • anything, esp. a little thing, that reduces or destroys the value or usefulness of something else
idiom
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1

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
fly
Plural:
flies1, flys

Adjective

Base Form:
fly
Superlative:
fliest

Origin of fly

  • Middle English flien from Old English flēogan pleu- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English flie from Old English flēoge pleu- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Probably from fly

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • 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.

    From Wiktionary

  • From Old English flȳġe, flēoge. Cognate with Scots flee, Dutch vlieg, German Fliege, Swedish fluga.

    From Wiktionary

  • Origin uncertain; probably from the verb or noun.

    From Wiktionary