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 This year there will be no flying or large gatherings as COVID-19 cases rise and fears of spreading the virus to loved ones cloud the holiday. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Smaller turkeys. Yams to go. Or a Thanksgiving lobster? COVID-19 will transform holiday meals.," 6 Nov. 2020 Fossils recovered from Antarctica in the 1980s may belong to the largest flying bird ever, a new study found. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "Fossils recovered from Antarctica may belong to the largest flying bird ever, study finds," 28 Oct. 2020 The flying reptiles lived alongside the dinosaurs between 210 million and 66 million years ago, ranging from the size of a sparrow to the height of a damn giraffe in the case of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, whose wings stretched 33 feet. Matt Simon, Wired, "What Did Pterosaurs Eat? Look Very Closely at Their Teeth," 28 Oct. 2020 Earlier this year, the Pentagon finally declassified three unidentified flying object videos that DeLonge previously had released. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: El Cajon centenarian celebrates right to vote," 9 Oct. 2020 But the best way to describe it is a flying snowplow. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "So Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato Talked About Their Alien Encounters This Week…," 21 Oct. 2020 In addition, the morning’s effort garnered records for the fastest flying mile on a public road (313.12 mph) and the highest speed achieved on a public road (331.15 mph). Eric Adams, Wired, "The Hair-Raising, Record-Setting Race to 331 MPH," 19 Oct. 2020 In August 2019, an inventor demonstrated a flying man drone at a German remote control show. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "The mystery of ‘guy in a jet pack’ sightings over skies of Los Angeles," 17 Oct. 2020 Included was a flying rebound putback follow in the first half that could not have been any more out of character, as well as in-character four-point play in the third quarter. Ira Winderman,, "Jimmy Butler outduels LeBron James as Heat force Game 6 with 111-108 win over Lakers," 10 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No one has yet studied what happens in crowded airports, in waiting areas at gates, at baggage claim carousels, or riding rental car shuttles—in short, all the other crowded, uncomfortable parts of flying. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Can You Get Covid-19 on an Airplane? Yeah, Probably," 18 Nov. 2020 Under the programs, passengers can get tested within 72 hours of flying through tests at home, at urgent care centers or in rapid testing centers at airports. Dallas News, "Is it safe to fly for the holidays? Airlines working to convince virus-wary travelers," 22 Oct. 2020 From being in the space shuttle simulator and flying and training, two years of focusing on the details. Robert Z. Pearlman, Scientific American, "Mark Kelly Becomes 4th Astronaut Elected to Congress," 6 Nov. 2020 Besides saving energy, another benefit of flying in V formation is to keep track of every bird in the group. Jim Gilbert, Star Tribune, "Symmetry of birds in group flight is all about efficiency," 5 Nov. 2020 Airlines are hoping that recent passengers will tell friends and family how clean and safe their trips were and slowly eat away the fear of flying that has taken over as a result of the pandemic, Abdelghany said. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "Airlines are offering 2-for-1 deals to drum up demand," 3 Nov. 2020 Is the industry's 'flying is relatively safe' mantra working? Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "'Pandemic fatigue': Pent-up demand is driving holiday flight bookings despite COVID-19 spikes," 2 Nov. 2020 The group cited a return of domestic travel in China, where flying has come back to 2019 levels, as the main driver of the change. Siddharth Vikram Philip,, "Covid-19 Could Cost 174 Million Tourism Jobs This Year," 30 Oct. 2020 While travelers are still hesitant to return to flying, airlines have reported strong bookings to leisure destinations, especially those to ski and sun destinations, like Phoenix. Melissa Yeager, The Arizona Republic, "Southwest Airlines adds new nonstops from Phoenix – here's where and when you can fly," 28 Oct. 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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flying.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 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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Comments on flying

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