Fly meaning

flī
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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(chiefly british) Mentally alert; sharp.
adjective
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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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To pass by swiftly.

A vacation flying by.

verb
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(baseball) To hit a fly.
verb
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To carry or transport in an aircraft.
verb
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To run away from; flee from; avoid.
verb
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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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(rare) The act of flying; flight.
noun
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(fishing) A lightweight fishing lure resembling an insect.
noun
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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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(baseball) A ball batted high in the air, esp. within the foul lines.
noun
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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 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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(chiefly brit., slang) Alert and knowing; sharp; quick.
adjective
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(slang) Fashionable, stylish, attractive, etc.
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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Any of various other flying insects, such as a caddisfly.
noun
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Any of numerous insects of the order Diptera, having one pair of wings and large compound eyes. Flies include the houseflies, horseflies, and mosquitoes.
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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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(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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An act of flying.

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

noun
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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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To be dissipated; vanish.

All his money has flown.

verb
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A piece of protective fabric secured over a tent and often extended over the entrance.
noun
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(slang) Fashionable; stylish.
adjective
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To hunt with a hawk.
verb
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To operate (an aircraft or spacecraft)
verb
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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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(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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(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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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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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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(baseball) To hit a fly ball.
verb
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(informal) To gain acceptance or approval; go over.
verb
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The act of flying; flight.
noun
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A flyleaf.
noun
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(baseball) A fly ball.
noun
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(sports) In swimming, butterfly.
noun
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A flywheel.
noun
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(chiefly british) A one-horse carriage, especially one for hire.
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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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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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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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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fly in the ointment
  • A detrimental circumstance or detail; a drawback.
idiom
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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

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