fledged; fledging

intransitive verb

of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity
also : to leave the nest after acquiring such feathers

transitive verb

: to rear until ready for flight or independent activity
: to cover with or as if with feathers or down
: to furnish (something) with feathers
feather an arrow

Examples of fledge in a Sentence

The young birds haven't yet fledged.
Recent Examples on the Web In that year, declining numbers of their fish prey led to only about a quarter of the birds fledging chicks. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Sep. 2023 About two-thirds of the puffins fledged chicks last year, Lyons said. Patrick Whittle, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Aug. 2023 In the Rothschild Island colony, home to the smallest population of the five, a lucky break in the bay’s geometry preserved the sea ice until the offspring of its roughly 700 breeding pairs had fledged. Corinne Purtill, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 By last December, around fledging season, only one colony had both ice and birds. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 24 Aug. 2023 As rockets rain down, most news outlets pull out, except for one fledging new network named CNN. Aden Ikram, Fortune, 14 July 2023 General managers also have to be chosen to run the Original Six of the fledging league. Stephen Whyno and John Wawrow, Chicago Tribune, 30 Aug. 2023 Until fledging—when growing penguins get the slick feathers that keep them warm in frigid waters—chicks are confined to the sea ice and fed by their parents. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 24 Aug. 2023 Eggs will hatch after 65 days, but the chicks do not fledge until December to January during Antarctic summer. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 24 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fledge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying, Old English flēogan to fly — more at fly

First Known Use

1566, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of fledge was in 1566

Dictionary Entries Near fledge

Cite this Entry

“Fledge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fledge. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


fledged; fledging
: to develop the feathers necessary for flying
also : to leave the nest after developing such feathers
: to provide with feathers
fledge an arrow

More from Merriam-Webster on fledge

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