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

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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

From building model planes as a youth until his passing, Armstrong carried a deep fascination with learning how flying machines worked. Jamie Turner,, "How Neil Armstrong earned the moon landing’s lead role: Apollo 11 at 50," 16 July 2019 And in 2017, The New York Times reported on a shadowy program at the Pentagon that has been investigating reports of unidentified flying objects for years. Jacey Fortin,, "‘Storm Area 51’ Facebook group is a million strong, but it’s a joke — kind of," 15 July 2019 Following the war’s conclusion, Friend acted as an operations officer in Korea and Vietnam; worked on early rocket programs; and led Project Blue Book, a classified Air Force study of unidentified flying objects. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Robert Friend, Tuskegee Airman Who Flew in 142 Combat Missions, Dies at 99," 26 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Soak up the sun or hit the waves at Kite Beach The white-sand Kite Beach is 7.5 miles long and known for kite flying, and for water sports such as kite surfing, wake boarding and stand-up paddle boarding. Adrienne Jordan, USA TODAY, "First time in Dubai? Here are 5 things you should do," 15 July 2019 The airport’s crosswind runway also will be reconstructed and extended — to 2,750 feet from 2,500 feet — and lights will be added for nighttime flying. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, "Controversial Lake Elmo Airport expansion slated to start this fall," 24 June 2019 When Jim retired, the pair traveled the country, driving coast to coast because of Jo’s fear of flying, Kirby said. Breanne Kovatch,, "‘It’s a very loving relationship’: Meet the New Hampshire couple married for 72 years," 18 June 2019 Louisville Courier Journal Muhammad Ali may have had a fear of flying, but Louisville's airport has a new name and a new logo to honor the boxing champ. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville airport unveils Muhammad Ali logo to go with new name," 6 June 2019 And for a baby pterosaur, flying wasn't just a way to get around. Megan Marples And Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "These prehistoric reptiles could fly immediately after birth," 13 June 2019 The only protection from enemy eyes at these open-air depots was camouflage and the fact that daytime flying was too unhealthy for the enemy over England. Popular Mechanics, "How the D-Day Invasion Was Planned," 6 June 2019 Aniston, who has a fear of flying, originally didn’t see why missing a wheel was such a problem. Ale Russian,, "Jennifer Aniston Reveals Ellen DeGeneres Was the First Person to Text During Plane Scare," 5 June 2019 Keep in mind that the main function of flying is not to provide you with a fine dining experience. Amanda Greene, Woman's Day, "10 Things Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You," 13 Feb. 2016

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

20 Jul 2019

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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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marked by turns or indirection

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