: having or involving an inconspicuous but effective point of observation
fly-on-the-wall observations of aspects of daily lifeWill Manley

Examples of fly-on-the-wall in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Forget any fly-on-the-wall scenes, mic’d-up moments, or amusing B-roll. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 11 Oct. 2023 The new show has more of a fly-on-the-wall quality. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2023 None of this is initially clear from Wiseman’s typical fly-on-the-wall approach, which provides no titles or talking-head interviews, inviting the viewer to watch and learn. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 Narrated and directed by a Ukrainian Associated Press journalist, Mstyslav Chernov, who with three other team members won the Pulitzer Prize for their efforts, the fly-on-the-wall film makes for a dizzying reminder of the brutality and banality of war. Kyle Smith, WSJ, 13 July 2023 The book offers a fly-on-the-wall procedural of the resulting case that involves spies, informants, FBI agents, customs officials, and bugged phones and cars. Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs, 14 Apr. 2020 Then there’s this short film of 1911 New York City, which doesn’t fit the single unbroken take aesthetic of the modern YouTube walking tours but has a similar fly-on-the-wall mood. Matt Jancer, WIRED, 27 June 2023 And even if Reynolds and McElhenney recognized the entertainment value of a fly-on-the-wall documentary about a historic but down-on-its-luck soccer team run by two actors learning the ropes of sports club ownership, the end product has probably exceeded all expectations. James Robson, Fortune, 21 Apr. 2023 The family rose to fame through MTV's fly-on-the-wall reality show The Osbournes, which ran from 2002 to 2005. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 11 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fly-on-the-wall was in 1974

Dictionary Entries Near fly-on-the-wall

Cite this Entry

“Fly-on-the-wall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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