fly·by | \ˈflī-ˌbī \
plural flybys

Definition of flyby 

1 : a prearranged usually low-altitude flight by one or more airplanes over a public gathering (such as an air show)

2a : a flight of a spacecraft past a celestial body (such as Mars) close enough to obtain scientific data

b : a spacecraft that makes a flyby

Examples of flyby in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Over the next few months, the New Horizons team will start making long-distance observations of Ultima Thule, and use those observations plus the navigation data to make minor course corrections before the flyby. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "New Horizons Wakes Up to Prepare for Asteroid Flyby," 7 June 2018 Where mountains meet the plain Telfer and his colleagues analyzed the imagery New Horizons captured during its epic flyby. Mike Wall, Scientific American, "Pluto Has Dunes, But They’re Not Made of Sand," 1 June 2018 The historic flyby yielded breathtaking images, spectacular data—and the possibility of testing out the wild comet proposal. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Is Pluto Actually a Mash-up of a Billion Comets?," 30 May 2018 Although the trajectory of Voyager 2 did not bring it near Pluto’s orbit, the Voyager 1 spacecraft could have reached the tiny world five years after its 1980 flyby of Saturn. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Inside the all-American voyage to the last world in the Solar System," 3 July 2018 The images come courtesy of the Juno spacecraft, which recently had its 13th close flyby of the planet. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "NASA's new picture of Jupiter is stunning and 'turbulent' at the same time, like a van Gogh painting," 25 June 2018 The craft will use ice-penetrating radar to peer under Europa’s shell and will make 45 flybys of the moon, getting as close as 16 miles. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "A New Look at Old Data Suggests Europa Shoots Watery Plumes Into Space," 14 May 2018 The 1997 flyby was close to the site of the repeat detection by Hubble. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Old data reveal 'plumes' on ocean world that could host life," 14 May 2018 The spacecraft used a flyby of Earth in December 2015 to accelerate and match its trajectory with the tilted orbit of the asteroid. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Japan’s Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Creeps Up on the Ryugu Asteroid," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flyby.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of flyby

1953, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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The first known use of flyby was in 1953

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English Language Learners Definition of flyby

: a usually low flight past a group of people at an air show, during a parade, etc., by an aircraft or group of aircraft

: a flight of a spacecraft past a planet, moon, etc.

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Comments on flyby

What made you want to look up flyby? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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