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, drive-by, gadarene, 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

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

In one respect, space is already like a war zone: It’s increasingly shot through with flying shrapnel. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018 Talk of flying cars — which are many years away from moving around actual customers, if ever — offered a diversion from Uber’s embattled autonomous-car program. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "Uber Says It Will Deliver Food by Drone in Under 30 Minutes," 10 May 2018 Two airline pilots traveling over Arizona claim they were passed by an unidentified flying objects while flying at over 30,000 feet in the air. CBS News, "Two airline pilots report seeing UFO while flying over Arizona," 28 Mar. 2018 Learn some basic flying skills, how to hover, or just join in on a friendly competition. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW-Waukesha's spring production of "Eurydice" to open March 30," 26 Mar. 2018 But his level of flying skills, including engaging the plane’s autopilot and performing maneuvers that would be daunting even for an experienced Q400 pilot, nevertheless surprised some experts. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Plane Thief Said He Trained on Games, Didn’t Plan to Land," 12 Aug. 2018 Angelina Jolie recently impressed fans with her flying skills, but the Maleficent star has been practicing her pilot prowess for years. Ale Russian,, "Inside Angelina Jolie's Life as a Pilot: From Being Inspired by Maddox to Owning Her Own Plane," 19 Apr. 2018 If most of your flying is domestic, this program is definitely worth a close look. Ryan Craggs, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Frequent Flier and Airline Rewards Programs in the U.S.," 27 July 2018 An oncoming car struck English and Dr. Ray, sending her flying into English’s father. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, "Sean English to receive Courage Award at Detroit Free Press Sports Awards," 18 May 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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Statistics for flying

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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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

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