fly·ing | \ˈflī-iŋ \

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for flying

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Synonyms: Noun


Antonyms: Adjective

deliberate, unhurried, unrushed

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Issued this week, the patent may help Amazon grapple with how flying robots might interact with human bystanders and customers waiting on their doorsteps. Hamza Shaban,, "Amazon patents delivery drones that can react to people screaming and flailing," 23 Mar. 2018 Crowd Rushes Guard to Greet Airmen An exciting scene occurred at America's most historic flying field when Lieut., "May 4 1923: When it took 27 hours to fly nonstop from New York," 4 May 2018 Issued this week, the patent may help Amazon grapple with how flying robots might interact with human bystanders and customers waiting on their doorsteps. Hamza Shaban,, "Amazon patents delivery drones that can react to people screaming and flailing," 23 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During Baker’s remarks, the wind sent a Massport flag flying to the ground behind him. Jon Chesto,, "In a pinch, this seasoned administrator knows how to entertain, too," 29 May 2018 The World Series memories are still relatively fresh, even if the only obvious reminder is the championship flag flying above the bleachers. Paul Sullivan,, "We interrupt this Cubs season for a 2016 flashback," 21 May 2018 Airlines say service dogs for psychological or physical disabilities would still qualify but that such animals would be trained to handle the stress of flying. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Airlines Urge Clampdown on Flying With Pets," 10 July 2018 Airline trade groups, however, have opposed a fee increase, saying a hike will discourage people from flying and is not needed because air carriers are already investing heavily in terminal upgrades. Hugo Martin,, "U.S. airports near new passenger record as demand for air travel continues to grow," 6 July 2018 In the past year the Chinese armed forces have staged a growing number of exercises near Taiwan, including the flying of bombers and other aircraft around it. The Economist, "A deadline looms in China’s battle with foreign firms over Taiwan," 5 July 2018 The Hornets' summer team has been practicing twice a day since Monday before flying to Las Vegas Thursday afternoon. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Why Hornets rookie Devonte Graham welcomes, isn't rattled by NBA's complex strategies," 4 July 2018 In 2011, protesters rallied at a park downtown against an ordinance that prohibited the official flying of the Confederate battle flag alongside the US, state, and city flags. Jessica Mendoza, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Red Hen aftermath, a community wades through nation's vitriol," 29 June 2018 Overall, train travel with a dog sounds pretty painless, especially when compared with flying. Southern Living, "Trains Are Becoming the Preferred Way to Travel with Your Dog," 21 June 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.

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First Known Use of flying


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


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for flying

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

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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

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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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