fly·​ing | \ ˈflī-iŋ How to pronounce flying (audio) \

Definition of flying

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : moving or capable of moving in the air
b : moving or made by moving rapidly flying feet a flying leap
c : very brief
2 : intended for ready movement or action a flying squad car
3 : having stylized wings used especially of livestock brand marks
4 : of or relating to the operation of aircraft a flying club
5 : traversed or to be traversed (as in speed-record trials) after a running start a flying kilometer
with flying colors
: with complete or eminent success



Definition of flying (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : travel by air
2 : the operation of an aircraft or spacecraft

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for flying

Synonyms: Adjective

cursory, drive-by, gadarene, hasty, headlong, helter-skelter, hurried, overhasty, pell-mell, precipitate, precipitous, rash, rushed

Synonyms: Noun


Antonyms: Adjective

deliberate, unhurried, unrushed

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of flying in a Sentence


a story about a flying car a flying attempt at finishing the work


had never had the slightest fear of flying
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Fifty years later, in 1992, one of the P-38s was extracted from the ice and restored to flying condition: the infamous Glacier Girl. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "WWII P-38 Discovered Under 300 Feet of Ice in Greenland," 27 July 2018 That facility will include a mission control for experimentation on the International Space Station, a Dream Chaser simulator, and an indoor flight environment for drones and other flying vehicles without humans on board. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX organizes inaugural conference to plan landings on Mars," 6 Aug. 2018 The swarms of low-cost, disposable flying objects could perform tasks that no single spacecraft can do on its own. Steve Nadis, Discover Magazine, "The Tiny Satellites That Might Fly to Another Solar System," 18 Oct. 2018 In December 2017, The New York Times published an account involving U.S. Navy fighter pilots and their encounter with unidentified flying objects. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "70 Years and Counting, the UFO Phenomenon Is as Mysterious As Ever," 2 July 2018 These relatively large flying insects are also found widely across the state. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Top 5 Wisconsin wildlife risks to humans? Maybe not what you think.," 13 June 2018 Before mowing, pick up stones, toys, and debris to prevent flying objects. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Toddler injured in horrific lawn mower accident northeast of metro Detroit," 9 June 2018 Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a Laser-Powered Robotic Fly Take Its First Flight," 16 May 2018 Attack from Mars fares better with the simple flying saucer toy). Aurich Lawson, Ars Technica, "The Pinball Arcade is losing its classic tables; grab them while you can," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Called Quetzalcoatlus northrapi by paleontologists, this huge flying beast had a wingspan of about 50 feet—14 feet wider than four-seat Cessna 172. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "'Game of Thrones' Science: Could a Person Ride a Dragon?," 15 Apr. 2019 Unsurprisingly, almost of all of them passed with flying colors. Glamour, "14 Tatcha Products Actually Worth Your Money," 15 Apr. 2019 Camilla is also not a fan of flying but has not let that get in the way of her duties. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Why Camilla Will Be Key to Prince Charles's Reign," 6 Apr. 2019 But over the next couple of years, the forest is vulnerable to flying sparks from the trade war, while the Fed is dropping lighted matches into a leveraged economy every few months. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "How Worried Should You Be About a Stock-Market Selloff?," 23 Nov. 2018 What high summer also entails: a lot of sun, which means I am fully committed to flying, driving, and sailing with a wide-brimmed hat gingerly in tow. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "15 Fresh Ideas for Covering Up at the Beach This Summer," 3 Aug. 2018 For the same reason, EPA staffers have said, Pruitt switched to flying first class after an individual approached him in an airport last year and used vulgar language. Juliet Eilperin,, "Pruitt enlisted security detail in picking up dry cleaning, moisturizing lotion," 8 June 2018 For the same reason, EPA staffers have said, Pruitt switched to flying first class after an individual approached him in an airport last year and used vulgar language., "EPA's Scott Pruitt enlisted security detail in picking up dry cleaning, moisturizing lotion," 7 June 2018 The Hover 2 offers fully autonomous flying, and launches on Kickstarter today starting at $399. Dami Lee, The Verge, "The makers of the selfie drone camera are Kickstarting its sequel, the Hover 2," 14 Nov. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of flying


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flying

Statistics for flying

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flying

The first known use of flying was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flying



English Language Learners Definition of flying

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: moving or able to move in the air



English Language Learners Definition of flying (Entry 2 of 2)

: the activity of traveling in an aircraft

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on flying

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


one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!