1

fly

verb \ ˈflī \

Definition of fly

flew play \ˈflü\; flown play \ˈflōn\; flying
intransitive verb
1 a :to move in or pass through the air with wings
  • bees flying around the hive
b :to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space
  • bullets flying in all directions
c :to float, wave, or soar in the air
  • flags flying at half-mast
2 a :to take flight :flee
  • was forced to fly for his life when his enemies came into power
b :to fade and disappear :vanish
  • mists flying before the morning sun
3 a :to move, pass, or spread quickly
  • rumors were flying
b :to be moved with sudden extreme emotion
  • flew into a rage
c :to seem to pass quickly
  • the time simply flew
4 :to become expended or dissipated rapidly
  • After he became established in the town, his inheritance flew.
5 :to operate or travel in an airplane or spacecraft
  • They flew to Florida for their vacation.
6 :to work successfully :win popular acceptance
  • knew … a pure human-rights approach would not fly
  • —Charles Brydon
transitive verb
1 a :to cause to fly, float, or hang in the air
  • flying a kite
b :to operate (something, such as a balloon, aircraft, rocket, or spacecraft) in flight
c :to journey over or through by flying
  • flew the Atlantic
2 a :to flee or escape from
  • The bird had flown its cage.
b :avoid, shun
  • fly such a talkative woman
3 :to transport by aircraft or spacecraft
  • Supplies were flown to the disaster area.
fly at
:to assail suddenly and violently
  • He flew at me in a rage.
fly blind
:to fly an airplane solely by instruments
fly high
:to be elated
  • She was flying high after winning the contest.
fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of
:to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of
  • His explanation flies in the face of the evidence.

Origin and Etymology of fly

Middle English flien, from Old English flēogan; akin to Old High German fliogan to fly and probably to Old English flōwan to flow


2

fly

noun

Definition of fly

plural flies
1 :the action or process of flying :flight
2 a :a device consisting of two or more radial vanes capable of rotating on a spindle to act as a fan or to govern the speed of clockwork or very light machinery
3 flies plural :the space over a theater stage where scenery and equipment can be hung
4 :something attached by one edge: such as
a :a garment closing concealed by a fold of cloth extending over the fastener
b (1) :the length of an extended flag from its staff or support
(2) :the outer or loose end of a flag
5 :a baseball hit high into the air
6 :flyleaf
7 :a sheet of material (such as canvas) that is attachable to a tent for use as a double top or as a rooflike extension
8 :a football pass pattern in which the receiver runs straight downfield
on the fly
1 :in motion :busy
2 :while still in the air :without the ball bouncing
  • the home run carried 450 feet on the fly
3 :in a hurry and often without preparation :hastily, spontaneously
  • making decisions on the fly
4 :simultaneously with another task
  • software that handles formatting on the fly

Origin and Etymology of fly

see 1fly


3

fly

verb

Definition of fly

flied; flying
intransitive verb
:to hit a fly in baseball

First Known Use of fly

1893


4

fly

noun

Definition of fly

plural flies
1 :a winged insect usually used in combination
  • mayflies
  • butterfly
2 a :any of a large order (Diptera) of winged or rarely wingless insects (such as the housefly, mosquito, or gnat) that have the anterior wings functional, the posterior wings reduced to halteres, and segmented often headless, eyeless, and legless larvae — compare maggot
b :a large stout-bodied fly
3 :a fishhook dressed (as with feathers or tinsel) to suggest an insect
fly in the ointment
:a detracting factor or element

Origin and Etymology of fly

Middle English flie, from Old English flēoge; akin to Old High German flioga fly, Old English flēogan to fly

Other Insect Terms


5

fly

adjective

Definition of fly

chiefly British

Origin and Etymology of fly

probably from 1fly


Fly

geographical name \ ˈflī \

Definition of Fly

river 650 miles (1046 kilometers) long in southern New Guinea flowing southeast into the Gulf of Papua

FLY Defined for Kids

1

fly

verb \ ˈflī \

Definition of fly for Students

flew \ˈflü\; flown \ˈflōn\; flying
1 :to move in or pass through the air with wings
  • Birds and airplanes fly.
2 :to move through the air or before the wind
  • Paper was flying in all directions.
3 :to float or cause to float, wave, or soar in the wind
  • fly a kite
  • fly a flag
4 :to run away :flee
  • … calling out to him to fly, for God's sake, by the window …
  • —Charles Dickens, The Cricket on the Hearth
5 :to pass or move swiftly
  • Time flies.
  • Cars were flying past us.
6 :to operate or travel in an aircraft
  • fly a jet
  • I'm flying home for the holidays.
7 :to become suddenly emotional
  • He flew into a rage.

2

fly

noun

Definition of fly for Students

plural flies
1 :a flap of material to cover a fastening in a garment
2 :a layer of fabric that goes over the top of a tent
3 :a baseball hit very high

3

fly

noun

Definition of fly for Students

plural flies
1 :any of a large group of mostly stout-bodied two-winged insects (as the housefly)
2 :a winged insect Hint: This sense of fly is usually used in combination.
  • dragonfly
  • firefly
3 :a fishhook made to look like an insect

Medical Dictionary

fly

noun \ ˈflī \

medical Definition of fly

plural flies
1 :a winged insect usually used in combination
  • emerging mayflies
  • a large butterfly
2 a :any dipteran fly called also true fly, two-winged fly
b :a large and stout-bodied dipteran fly (as a horsefly)


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