fly·​by | \ ˈflī-ˌbī How to pronounce flyby (audio) \
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

And the New Horizons team only has one chance to get this flyby right. Loren Grush, The Verge, "On New Year’s Day, a spacecraft will zoom by the most distant object humanity has ever visited," 27 Dec. 2018 The spacecraft will not land on its destination, instead conducting a fast flyby and observing its target for only a matter of minutes from a distance of perhaps a 1,000 kilometers. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "European Comet Interceptor Could Visit an Interstellar Object," 24 June 2019 Voyager 2 will soon fire up another set of thrusters last used during its flyby of Neptune in 1989. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "NASA's plan to keep the Voyager spacecraft awake and flying," 10 July 2019 But aerospace technology developed so rapidly that only about a decade separated the first flyby forays and Neil Armstrong's history-making steps on the moon's surface. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "A brief history of moon exploration," 5 July 2019 This map shows the most significant landings and impacts on the lunar surface, as well as noteworthy flyby missions. Korey Haynes, Discover Magazine, "Earth's Moon: The Basics of its Origin, Evolution and Exploration," 12 June 2019 The probe flew past Ultima Thule in January, completing the most distant planetary flyby ever. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Will NASA study Saturn's largest moon or sample a comet? The country finds out today," 27 June 2019 This mosaic of nine images shows Saturn's moon Titan during Cassini's first very close flyby on October 26, 2004. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "What's happening inside Saturn's rings? The Cassini mission dove between them to find out," 13 June 2019 Every time Cassini fired its thrusters or made another planetary flyby, uncertainty crept into the records of the probe’s speed and location. Quanta Magazine, "Why Can’t We Find Planet Nine?," 3 July 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

20 Aug 2019

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The first known use of flyby was in 1953

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English Language Learners Definition of flyby

US : 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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flyby

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).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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