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

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 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

The simulators are also more affordable than pursuing a pilot’s license and can help satisfy a lifelong obsession with flying. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Flight-Simulator Enthusiasts Confident of Real-World Skills," 16 Aug. 2018 But some passengers contend that animals help them cope with flying and advocates for people with disabilities have tried to map a compromise for passengers to keep comfort animals in their laps. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Smells, growls and disputes: AA urges DOT to allow only trained service dogs in airline cabins," 10 July 2018 The military's engagement with flying saucers isn't just conspiratorial. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "70 Years and Counting, the UFO Phenomenon Is as Mysterious As Ever," 2 July 2018 People have said Shults has had a longtime love affair with flying. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "When engine blew, Boerne-area woman became ‘rock star’ pilot," 18 Apr. 2018 Our happiness is largely influenced by our expectations; in the case of flying, that means our expected departure and arrival times. Dan Ariely, WSJ, "Coping With Annoying Travel Delays," 14 Feb. 2019 Air cargo executives also expect Amazon to do more of its own flying by either renting more jets or buying its own planes. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "Air Transport Services Group Buys Charter Airline for $845 Million," 2 Oct. 2018 Interorbital has long held admirable goals of flying (very) low-cost rockets. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Vega soars, Delta 2 end nears, hearing a Falcon Heavy launch," 24 Aug. 2018 For all the hazards of flying in the vicinity of the sun, perhaps the least discussed is a barrage of tiny rocks waiting to shred any vulnerable object that ventures too close. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The Spacecraft Engineering Required to "Touch the Sun"," 6 Aug. 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

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).


the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!