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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of flying in a Sentence

Adjective a story about a flying car a flying attempt at finishing the work Noun had never had the slightest fear of flying
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But his flying visit is not entirely all hat and no cattle Choose us for news analysis that respects your time and intelligence Get up to 80% off a quarterly subscription with View subscription options Cancel at any time. The Economist, "A tryst with Trump The American president can expect a warm welcome in Modi’s India," 23 Feb. 2020 That morning, the National Weather Service had issued a forecast discussion noting a deep marine layer that would affect flying conditions, including around the Los Angeles and Burbank airports. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "The Last Flight of Kobe Bryant’s Life," 28 Jan. 2020 These are now known as the Nimitz encounters, so named for the fighter pilots of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group who spotted the strange flying objects. Tim Mcmillan, Popular Mechanics, "The Tale of the Tape," 17 Jan. 2020 Singh, who worked on self-driving cars before shifting to air taxis, says that autonomous flying vehicles are easier to develop in some respects. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Uber and Hyundai team up to put flying taxis in the sky," 7 Jan. 2020 Last year, the Navy for the first time acknowledged that three UFO videos -- one from the 2004 USS Nimitz incident and two from 2015 -- were real videos of unidentified flying objects. Fox News, "Top-secret UFO files could ‘gravely damage’ US national security, Navy says," 15 Jan. 2020 The study suggested that electric flying cars could be a $32-billion industry by 2035. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Possibility or pipe dream: How close are we to seeing flying cars?," 4 Nov. 2019 The special commission is part of the Parade’s Blue Sky Gallery series, which invites celebrated contemporary artists to contribute artworks to the high flying lineup (previous participants include Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, and Keith Haring). Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Yayoi Kusama's Balloon Will Fly at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," 26 Nov. 2019 The New York Times reported in 2017 that the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program for years investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, but that the Defense Department said that program was shut down in 2012. NBC News, "Navy confirms videos did capture UFO sightings, but it calls them by another name," 19 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Their responses included outer space, tropical beaches, family farms, big cities and monuments, through many different means of flying. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "MacArthur 'genius' releases free tools to help engage with isolated seniors during coronavirus," 26 Mar. 2020 Nicolette Smith Train travel is going through a bit of a renaissance as people reconsider the carbon emissions squashed seating and increasing fees of flying. Jackie Snow, New York Times, "Riding the Rails With the Man in Seat 61," 14 Mar. 2020 Nationally, a fear of flying has prompted major airlines to slash domestic flights — but not in Louisville so far. Alfred Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville airport seeing fewer travelers, announces virus patient passed through 3 times," 10 Mar. 2020 Airlines have been hit hard by the growing coronavirus epidemic, with many having to cancel or cut back flights as demand for flying falls amid fears of a possible pandemic. NBC News, "Lufthansa cancels 23,000 flights due to 'exceptional circumstances'," 11 Mar. 2020 The travel time is a factor that can cut into your ability to schedule enough time for flying. Popular Science, "How to learn to fly," 5 Mar. 2020 The aerospace giant saw an opportunity to stoke an early passion for flying, and joined Zieba's quest by donating two flight simulators, usually reserved for professional pilots, to the local school district. CBS News, "Struggling California town sees opportunity in looming airline pilot shortage," 5 Feb. 2020 He was rated as a helicopter flight and ground instructor for instrument flying. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "Kobe Bryant's ex-pilot: Helicopter was 'Cadillac' of the skies, yet it crashed. NTSB is hunting for clues.," 30 Jan. 2020 Without the planes, airlines had to scale back on plans for more flying. Cathy Bussewitz, Anchorage Daily News, "After deadly crashes of Boeing’s marquee aircraft, its CEO is forced out," 24 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for flying

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for flying

Last Updated

15 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flying.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flying


How to pronounce flying (audio)

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!