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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 President Trump said he has been briefed on Navy pilots' reported sightings of unidentified flying objects, but remained skeptical of the existence of UFOs. Fox News, "Navy UFO mystery deepens amid disclosure that 'unknown individuals' told officers to erase evidence," 16 Nov. 2019 According to Greek and Roman mythology, the great square of Pegasus in the eastern sky is the torso of the big flying horse. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Mike Lynch: The flying horse of autumn is on a rescue mission," 20 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Seattle’’ was stamped on its hull, but there was no flag flying and no visible registration numbers on the vessel. oregonlive, "Canadian man pleads guilty to smuggling meth into the United States aboard a ship called ‘Mandalay’," 13 Jan. 2020 For decades, a key goal of the intelligence community and the U.S. Air Force has been the recovery and test flying of Soviet and then Russian fighter jets. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Very Real Aircraft of Area 51," 19 July 2019 The eaglets just fledged, and this week were venturing away from their home made of sticks — honing skills in flying and picking off rabbits, snakes and prairie dogs. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Golden eagles survive amid suburbia of Highlands Ranch, thanks to preservation of natural habitat," 5 July 2019 Architecture lessons in Ahmadabad lead to silk studio visits, kite flying, and birdwatching along the city’s numerous lakes. Caitlin Etherton, National Geographic, "23 photos of India’s stunning cultural heritage," 2 Apr. 2019 The notion of flying has captivated humankind for centuries. Popular Science, "Meet your new hobby: model airplane kits," 16 Jan. 2020 Jeannie Phan Many travelers today are mindful of the environmental cost of flying, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Sweden. New York Times, "Dispatch From the Land of Flight Shaming, or How I Became a Train Boaster," 18 Dec. 2019 For many wheelchair users, the experience of flying is stressful, painful, and sometimes humiliating. Michael Schulson, Quartz, "The flawed logic that makes flying a nightmare for wheelchair users," 6 Dec. 2019 The terrier also came back from the dead and coughed up a strange flying creature that bit off the hand of Oscar’s older and subsequently estranged sister Rachel. René A. Guzman,, "Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes talks about his debut young adult novel," 9 Jan. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for flying

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flying.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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

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